Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Theory of EvolutionPrinciples, Concepts, and Assumptions$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Samuel M. Scheiner and David P. Mindell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226671024

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226671338.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The Tree of Life and the Episodic Evolutionary Synthesis

The Tree of Life and the Episodic Evolutionary Synthesis

(p.123) Seven The Tree of Life and the Episodic Evolutionary Synthesis
The Theory of Evolution

Maureen Kearney

University of Chicago Press

The Tree of Life depicts phylogenetic relationships of species lineages. Together with theories of phylogeny and natural selection, it explains common ancestry, descent with modification, and change within lineages. It had a profound influence on comparative biology, which continues to grow as species relationships and the history of biodiversity’s organization are increasingly recognized as critical to hypothesis-testing. Recent major expansion of genomic data has contributed to resolving phylogenetic relationships. With new knowledge of genetic diversity and non-divergent genetic evolutionary processes, the Tree of Life has been challenged as an inaccurate portrayal of the history of life. The debate about its reality stems from different ways of seeing organisms. Should organismal lineages be conceptualized as equivalent to their genomes, or as complex historical and biological systems that retain identity in spite of genetic exchange and other changes? Do organisms have any emergent reality beyond the sum of their genomes? The debate exemplifies the incomplete integration between major subdisciplines of evolutionary biology. Resolution will require further cross-disciplinary research and synthesis across systematics, ecology, genetics, paleontology, and organismal biology. Theory on the nature of organisms, species, and phylogeny must also be re-examined to assess the validity of a universal theory of phylogeny.

Keywords:   phylogeny, natural selection, Tree of Life, species, systematics, genes, organisms, evolutionary lineages, evolutionary history

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.