TITLE

Why was Darwin’s view of species rejected by twentieth century biologists?

AUTHOR(S)
Mallet, James
PUB. DATE
September 2010
SOURCE
Biology & Philosophy;Sep2010, Vol. 25 Issue 4, p497
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Historians and philosophers of science agree that Darwin had an understanding of species which led to a workable theory of their origins. To Darwin species did not differ essentially from ‘varieties’ within species, but were distinguishable in that they had developed gaps in formerly continuous morphological variation. Similar ideas can be defended today after updating them with modern population genetics. Why then, in the 1930s and 1940s, did Dobzhansky, Mayr and others argue that Darwin failed to understand species and speciation? Mayr and Dobzhansky argued that reproductively isolated species were more distinct and ‘real’ than Darwin had proposed. Believing species to be inherently cohesive, Mayr inferred that speciation normally required geographic isolation, an argument that he believed, incorrectly, Darwin had failed to appreciate. Also, before the sociobiology revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, biologists often argued that traits beneficial to whole populations would spread. Reproductive isolation was thus seen as an adaptive trait to prevent disintegration of species. Finally, molecular genetic markers did not exist, and so a presumed biological function of species, reproductive isolation, seemed to delimit cryptic species better than character-based criteria like Darwin’s. Today, abundant genetic markers are available and widely used to delimit species, for example using assignment tests: genetics has replaced a Darwinian reliance on morphology for detecting gaps between species. In the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, we appear to be returning to more Darwinian views on species, and to a fuller appreciation of what Darwin meant.
ACCESSION #
53021206

 

Related Articles

  • Darwin of the 20th century - Mayr or Dobzhansky? Singh, B. N. // Current Science (00113891);7/25/2012, Vol. 103 Issue 2, p125 

    The article discusses the theory of natural selection as proposed by Charles Darwin, a naturalist. It informs about Darwin's lack of knowledge in genetics that resulted in the drawback of his theory as he could not define the species and explain the nature and the causes of the variations which...

  • Theodosius Dobzhansky e as relações entre genética e evolução. Graziela Santos, Cintia; Al-Chueyr Pereira Martins, Lilian // Philosophy & History of Biology / Filosofia e História da Biolo;jul-dez2013, Vol. 8 Issue 3, p395 

    The article discusses the work of Ukrainian-born American geneticist and biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky, focusing on his contribution to the study of genetic aspects of evolution, the concept of evolutionary synthesis, and the division of genetics into subdisciplines such as population genetics...

  • La proliferación de los conceptos de especie en la biología evolucionista. Torretti, Roberto // Theoria;Sep2010, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p325 

    Evolutionary biology has not suceeded in defining a concept of species that will satisfy all researchers. This critical survey of the main proposals and their respective difficulties tends, on the one hand, to throw light on the processes of concept formation in the empirical sciences, and, on...

  • Time-plans of the organisms: Jakob von Uexkül's explorations into the temporal constitution of living beings. Magnus, Riin // Sign Systems Studies;2011, Vol. 39 Issue 2-4, p37 

    The term "time-plan" is introduced in the article to sum up the diversity of temporal processes described by Jakob von Uexküll (1864-1944) in the framework of the general Planmässigkeit of nature. Although Uexküll hardly had any connections with his contemporary philosophies of time,...

  • Dobzhansky, Bateson, and the genetics of speciation. Orr, H. Allen // Genetics;Dec96, Vol. 144 Issue 4, p1331 

    Opinion. Comments on the works of geneticists Theodosius Dobzhansky and William Bateson in genetics speciation research. Difference between nucleus and cytoplasm; Genes versus chromosome rearrangements; Views of the complementary gene model.

  • Race: A genetic melting-pot. Feldman, Marcus W.; Lewontin, Richard C.; King, Mary-Claire // Nature;7/24/2003, Vol. 424 Issue 6947, p374 

    Race as a biological concept has had a variety of meanings. In the taxonomic literature, a race is any distinguishable type within a species. In 1937, Theodosius Dobzhansky introduced the idea of geographical races — populations of species that differ in the frequencies of one or more...

  • Genetics and the Origin of Species.  // Reports of the National Center for Science Education;Jul/Aug2006, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p24 

    The article reviews the book "Genetics and the Origin of Species," by Theodosius Dobzhansky.

  • Dobzhansky's Dictum: An Object Lesson for Critical Thinking. Stansfield, William D. // American Biology Teacher (University of California Press);Feb2012, Vol. 74 Issue 2, p81 

    A creationist has called Dobzhansky's dictum a myth. Discussion of this debate could be used as an object lesson for critical thinking.

  • Why Evolution Is the Organizing Principle for Biology. Zimmerman, Michael // Phi Kappa Phi Forum;Spring2009, Vol. 89 Issue 1, p4 

    The article provides an explanation on why the theory of evolution formulated by scientist Charles Darwin is considered as the organizing principle for biology. It notes that Darwin's reasoning on the theory of natural selection is being adopted by biologists. It also cites the statement of...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of VIRGINIA BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY AND SYSTEM

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics