Evolutionary Biology

Volume 32 of the series Evolutionary Biology pp 73-96

Avoiding Paradigm-Based Limits to Knowledge of Evolution

  • Ward B. WattAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Stanford UniversityRocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

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Since Darwin (1859) first proposed that evolution proceeds by natural selection, we have learned much about it. The founding of population genetic theory (summaries: Fisher, 1958; Haldane, 1932; Wright, 1931) showed the genetic feasibility of natural selection, removing a major objection to Darwin’s theory (Provine, 1971), and led to extended study of population genetic phenomena (e.g., Nei, 1987; Hartl and Clark, 1989). The “Modern Synthesis” (Jepsen et al., 1949; Mayr and Provine, 1980) brought paleontology and systematics together with population genetics to endorse Darwin’s insights and, many thought, to lay the foundation of steady progress in understanding.