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The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited$
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Brett Calcott and Kim Sterelny

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015240

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015240.001.0001

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Phylogenetic, Functional, and Geological Perspectives on Complex Multicellularity

Phylogenetic, Functional, and Geological Perspectives on Complex Multicellularity

(p.251) 12 Phylogenetic, Functional, and Geological Perspectives on Complex Multicellularity
The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited

Andrew H. Knoll

David Hewitt

The MIT Press

This chapter develops a subtle model that integrates environmental and internal factors. It describes the phylogenetic distribution of multicellular organisms in general and complex multicellular life in particular, clarifying the important distinction between the two. This chapter shows that the long apparent lag between the appearance of simple multicellularity in eukaryotes and the radiation of groups with complex multicellular organization has an environmental component that can be associated back to the consequences of life with interior and exterior cells. It suggests that the evolutionary transition from unicells to complex multicellular organisms has several steps.

Keywords:   phylogenetic distribution, multicellular organisms, eukaryotes, multicellularity, multicellular organization, evolutionary transition, unicells

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