One Long Experiment: Scale and Process in Earth History

By Ronald E. Martin | Go to book overview

7
Energy and Evolution

You can’t step twice into the same river. —Heraclitus

Eldredge and Sal the (1984) and Eldredge (1995) argued that there are two biological hierarchies involved in evolution: genealogical and ecological (table 1.1). As might be expected, ultra-Darwinians argue that competition for reproductive success drives competition for resources (food and energy, among them), but Eldredge and Salthe argue that it is the other way around. It is much simpler, according to them, to have the actions of the ecological hierarchy drive evolution of the genealogical one: “All organisms behave economically as a simple consequence of being alive; … the structural organization and inner workings of economic systems flow directly from such behavior;… economic systems depend on genealogical systems (reproductive behavior) purely as a constant supply of players in the ecological arena; and … what happens in the ecological arena helps determine the fate of genetic information as it is passed along from generation to generation in the genealogical context” (Eldredge, 1995:196). The connection between the two hierarchies occurs through the shared organismic level (table 1.1). Certainly, the organisms of the ecological hierarchy are constantly being “shuffled” because new kinds of organisms are produced by the genealogical hierarchy (Eldredge and Salthe, 1984). But organisms also require food (energy) to sustain themselves; without energy there would be no search for resources or mates and there would be no evolution. The connection between the two hierarchies is primarily

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One Long Experiment: Scale and Process in Earth History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Prologue - Methodology and Proof in Historical Science 1
  • 1 - Scale, Measurement, and Process- An Introduction 9
  • 2 - The Nature of the Stratigraphic Record- Curds and Whey 24
  • 3 - Random Walks in Muck 53
  • 4 - Time and Taphonomy 72
  • 5 - Biological Processes Inferred from the Fossil Record 95
  • 6 - Cycles and Secular Trends 132
  • 7 - Energy and Evolution 163
  • 8 - Extinction 186
  • Epilogue- the Nature of Nature 212
  • References 217
  • Index 253
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