Dr. Wayne Maddison Abstract


Chance is ubiquitous in evolution, from the differing fates of sister lineages on a phylogenetic tree to the discordant histories of individual genes in populations.  And yet, the rivers of genetic descent are well enough defined that we can reconstruct phylogeny, which then reveals repetition (convergence) from consistent evolutionary processes.  Although most sciences and most scientists portray themselves as seeking generalities, systematic biology is focused, for good reason, on a series of particular entities (species) and a singular history (the phylogenetic tree).  The growing role of this history in understanding organisms shows the importance of maintaining diverse perspectives in biology, from organism-centric and historical studies to question-centric and experimental studies.