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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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Alternative Patterns of Explanation for Major Transitions

Alternative Patterns of Explanation for Major Transitions

(p.35) 2 Alternative Patterns of Explanation for Major Transitions
The Major Transitions in Evolution Revisited

Brett Calcott

The MIT Press

This chapter argues that the major transitions literature has been too focused on determining conditions in which there is selection for cooperation, despite the threat of defection. It concentrates on similarities in the mechanisms responsible for bringing about the transitions identified by John Maynard-Smith and Eörs Száthmary. The evolution of multicellularity in Volvox carteri is explained through conflict mediation, generating benefit and origins of traits. Each of these three explanations provides difference-makers and shows how they impact a target of explanation. This chapter suggests that different patterns of explanation might yield other similarities across major transitions.

Keywords:   major transitions, John Maynard-Smith, Eörs Száthmary, multicellularity, Volvox carteri

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