Convergence, contingency & morphospace
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George McGhee’s book “Convergent Evolution: limited forms most beautiful” provides an extensive survey of biological convergence. This paper has two main aims. First, it examines the theoretical claims McGhee makes about convergent evolution—specifically criticizing his use of a total morphospace to understand contingency and his assumption that functional constraints are non-contingent. Second, it sketches a group of important conceptual challenges facing researchers interested in convergence.
KeywordsConvergence Contingency Morphospace Theoretical morphology
Thanks to Brett Calcott and Daniel Nolan for helpful comments.
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