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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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The Miscellaneous Transitions in Evolution

The Miscellaneous Transitions in Evolution

(p.19) 1 The Miscellaneous Transitions in Evolution
The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited

Daniel W. McShea

Carl Simpson

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry do not provide a coherent, well-motivated framework for thinking about the history of life. The chapter presents two projects that are very different, the first focusing on the Great Chain and the second on the history of life, ignoring the Great Chain. It also considers Ledyard Stebbins’ eight “major levels of organization” in evolution. These eight levels try to justify the Great Chain. This chapter may seem uncharitable, especially in its treatment of Maynard Smith and Szathmáry, whose work has been so well received.

Keywords:   evolution, John Maynard Smith, Eörs Szathmáry, life, history, Great Chain, Ledyard Stebbins

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