Thesis ID: CBB001567630

Definitely Directed Evolution (1890--1926): The Importance of Variation in Major Evolutionary Works by Theodor Eimer, Edward Drinker Cope, and Leo Berg (2014)


Ulett, Mark Andrew (Author)

Arizona State University
Lynch, John
Maienschein, Jane
Laubichler, Manfred Dietrich
Hall, Brian K.
Lynch, John
Maienschein, Jane
Smocovitis, Vassiliki B
Hall, Brian K.
Smocovitis, Vassiliki B

Publication Date: 2014
Edition Details: Advisor: Laubichler, Manfred D; Committee Members: Hall, Brian K., Lynch, John, Maienschein, Jane, Smocovitis, Vassiliki B.
Physical Details: 241 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation shows that the central conceptual feature and explanatory motivation of theories of evolutionary directionality between 1890 and 1926 was as follows: morphological variation in the developing organism limits the possible outcomes of evolution in definite directions. Put broadly, these theories maintained a conceptual connection between development and evolution as inextricably associated phenomena. This project develops three case studies. The first addresses the Swiss-German zoologist Theodor Eimer's book Organic Evolution (1890), which sought to undermine the work of noted evolutionist August Weismann. Second, the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope's Primary Factors (1896) developed a sophisticated system of inheritance that included the material of heredity and the energy needed to induce and modify ontogenetic phenomena. Third, the Russian biogeographer Leo Berg's Nomogenesis (1926) argued that the biological world is deeply structured in a way that prevents changes to morphology taking place in more than one or a few directions. These authors based their ideas on extensive empirical evidence of long-term evolutionary trajectories. They also sought to synthesize knowledge from a wide range of studies and proposed causes of evolution and development within a unified causal framework based on laws of evolution. While being mindful of the variation between these three theories, this project advances "Definitely Directed Evolution" as a term to designate these shared features. The conceptual coherence and reception of these theories shows that Definitely Directed Evolution from 1890 to 1926 is an important piece in reconstructing the wider history of theories of evolutionary directionality.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 76/04(E), Oct 2015. Proquest Document ID: 1640906473.

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Authors & Contributors
Bowler, Peter J.
Laurent, Goulven
Laubichler, Manfred Dietrich
Maienschein, Jane A.
Davidson, Jane Pierce
Jaffe, Mark
Revue de Synthèse
Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Theory in Biosciences
Revue d'Histoire des Sciences
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
Crown Publishers
Twenty-First Century Books
University of Minnesota
University of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
Cambridge University
Natural history
Variation (biology)
Cope, Edward Drinker
Marsh, Othniel Charles
Eimer, Theodor Gustav Heinrich
Berg, Lev Semenovich
Darwin, Charles Robert
Osborn, Henry Fairfield
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
United States
North America
Wyoming (U.S.)
University of Wyoming
University of Edinburgh

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