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Convergent Evolution – Limited Forms Most Beautiful - MIT Press Scholarship Online
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Convergent Evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful

George McGhee


Charles Darwin famously concluded On the Origin of Species with a vision of “endless forms most beautiful” continually evolving. More than 150 years later, many evolutionary biologists see not endless forms but the same, or very similar, forms evolving repeatedly in many independent species lineages. A porpoise’s fishlike fins, for example, are not inherited from fish ancestors but are independently derived convergent traits. This book describes the ubiquity of the phenomenon of convergent evolution and connects it directly to the concept of evolutionary constraint—the idea that the number of ... More

Keywords: Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, endless forms, evolutionary biologists, species lineages, convergent evolution, evolutionary constraint, organic molecules, ecosystems, phylogenetic classification

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780262016421
Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013 DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262016421.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

George McGhee, author