Evolution above the Species Level

Evolution above the Species Level

Evolution above the Species Level

Evolution above the Species Level

Excerpt

The greater part of this book was written in the last years of the war. My intention was not to present a compilation of known facts brought to light by evolutionary research, but rather to outline the major rules governing the processes of evolution. I wanted to attempt a causal explanation, partly based on new material, with the intention of proving that very probably the major trends of evolution are brought about by the same factors that bring about race and species formation. The first German edition, which came out in 1947, could refer to the works by J. S. Huxley (1942), Simpson (1944), and Mayr (1942), published in England and the United States during the war, only in an addendum after final proof-reading was completed. It was not until the second edition (Stuttgart, 1954) was prepared that the material in these books, as well as in those by Dobzhansky, Haldane, Lack, Edinger, A. H. Miller, and others could be incorporated. The authors were so kind as to place their books at my disposal. I was surprised to find that many scientists, though working independently and using quite different materials as the bases of their studies, had arrived at the same conclusions. For the first time in this century there was a rather general agreement among paleontologists, geneticists, systematists, and comparative anatomists.

The present English translation is based upon the second German edition, and only a few alterations and additions have been made. These consist chiefly of the abridgement of material that is of minor importance and the inclusion of quotations from recent literature. It has not been possible, however, to deal with all the numerous special evolutionary studies available in the most recent literature, as this would have increased too greatly the size of the book.

The rules governing transspecific alterations of the structural type (Chapters 4 and 6) which -- in part -- have been newly established are treated in more detail, because they represent a sound means of appreciating organic evolution as a whole and because they exemplify the regularities of the major lines of evolution. The chapter on the evolution of phenomena of consciousness has been reworded so as to be intelligible to those readers who are not too well acquainted with philosophical and epistemological considerations. In spite of its somewhat hypothetical character, I have not omitted this chapter because the majority of the readers of the German edition -- insofar as their written and spoken comments have reached me -- considered it essential and stimulating.

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