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Dev Biol. 2011 Sep 1;357(1):27-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.01.020. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Evolutionary uniformitarianism.

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1
Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC 20013-7012, USA. Erwind@si.edu

Abstract

I present a new compilation of the distribution of the temporal distribution of new morphologies of marine invertebrates associated with the Ediacaran-Cambrian (578-510 Ma) diversification of Metazoa. Combining this data with previous work on the hierarchical structure of gene regulatory networks, I argue that the distribution of morphologies may be, in part, a record of the time-asymmetric generation of variation. Evolution has been implicitly viewed as a uniformitarian process where the rates may vary but the underlying processes, including the types of variation, are essentially invariant through time. Recent studies demonstrate that this uniformitarian assumption is false, suggesting that the types of variation may vary through time.

PMID:
21276788
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.01.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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