Synthesis Paper

Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 93-99

First online:

Evolutionary Novelty and the Evo-Devo Synthesis: Field Notes

  • Ingo BrigandtAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of Alberta Email author 
  • , Alan C. LoveAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Minnesota

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Accounting for the evolutionary origins of morphological novelty is one of the core challenges of contemporary evolutionary biology. A successful explanatory framework requires the integration of different biological disciplines, but the relationships between developmental biology and standard evolutionary biology remain contested. There is also disagreement about how to define the concept of evolutionary novelty. These issues were the subjects of a workshop held in November 2009 at the University of Alberta. We report on the discussion and results of this workshop, addressing questions about (i) how to define evolutionary novelty and understand its significance, (ii) how to interpret evolutionary developmental biology as a synthesis and its relation to neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, and (iii) how to integrate disparate biological approaches in general.


Evolutionary developmental biology Interdisciplinarity Evolutionary novelty Evolutionary innovation Concepts