Explanation, Interpretation and Evidence

  • Emanuele Serrelli
  • Nathalie Gontier

Part of the Interdisciplinary Evolution Research book series (IDER, volume 2)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Emanuele Serrelli, Nathalie Gontier
    Pages 1-25
  3. Macroevolutionary Explanations and Interpretations

  4. Evidencing Macroevolution with Case Studies

About this book


This book is divided in two parts, the first of which shows how, beyond paleontology and systematics, macroevolutionary theories apply key insights from ecology and biogeography, developmental biology, biophysics, molecular phylogenetics, and even the sociocultural sciences to explain evolution in deep time. In the second part, the phenomenon of macroevolution is examined with the help of real life-history case studies on the evolution of eukaryotic sex, the formation of anatomical form and body-plans, extinction and speciation events of marine invertebrates, hominin evolution and species conservation ethics.

The book brings together leading experts, who explain pivotal concepts such as Punctuated Equilibria, Stasis, Developmental Constraints, Adaptive Radiations, Habitat Tracking, Turnovers, (Mass) Extinctions, Species Sorting, Major Transitions, Trends, and Hierarchies – key premises that allow macroevolutionary epistemic frameworks to transcend microevolutionary theories that focus on genetic variation, selection, migration and fitness.

Along the way, the contributing authors review ongoing debates and current scientific challenges; detail new and fascinating scientific tools and techniques that allow us to cross the classic borders between disciplines; demonstrate how their theories make it possible to extend the Modern Synthesis; present guidelines on how the macroevolutionary field could be further developed; and provide a rich view of just how it was that life evolved across time and space. In short, this book is a must-read for active scholars and, because the technical aspects are fully explained, it is also accessible for non-specialists.


Understanding evolution requires a solid grasp of above-population phenomena. Species are real biological individuals, and abiotic factors impact the future course of evolution. Beyond observation, when the explanation of macroevolution is the goal, we need both evidence and theory that enable us to explain and interpret how life evolves at the grand scale.


adaptive radiation evolutionary constraints extinction hierarchy theory human evolution natural selection puctuated equilibria speciation stasis

Editors and affiliations

  • Emanuele Serrelli
    • 1
  • Nathalie Gontier
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human Sciences U6, 4th floorUniversity of Milano Bicocca "Riccardo Massa"MilanoItaly
  2. 2.Centre for Philosophy of Science Campo Grande, Edifício C4University of Lisbon AppEELLisbonPortugal

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Biomedical and Life Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-15044-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-15045-1
  • Series Print ISSN 2199-3068
  • Series Online ISSN 2199-3076
  • Buy this book on publisher's site