Article ID: CBB603354866

The Unfinished Synthesis?: Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology in the 20th Century (2019)

unapi

In the received view of the history of the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, paleontology was given a prominent role in evolutionary biology thanks to the significant influence of paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson on both the institutional and conceptual development of the Synthesis. Simpson's 1944 Tempo and Mode in Evolution is considered a classic of Synthesis-era biology, and Simpson often remarked on the influence of other major Synthesis figures – such as Ernst Mayr and Theodosius Dobzhansky – on his developing thought. Why, then, did paleontologists of the 1970s and 1980s – Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, David M. Raup, Steven Stanley, and others – so frequently complain that paleontology remained marginalized within evolutionary biology? This essay considers three linked questions: first, were paleontologists genuinely welcomed into the Synthetic project during its initial stages? Second, was the initial promise of the role for paleontology realized during the decades between 1950 and 1980, when the Synthesis supposedly "hardened" to an "orthodoxy"? And third, did the period of organized dissent and opposition to this orthodoxy by paleontologists during the 1970s and 1980s bring about a long-delayed completion to the Modern Synthesis, or rather does it highlight the wider failure of any such unified Darwinian evolutionary consensus?

...More
Included in

Article Philippe Huneman (2019) Special Issue Editor’s Introduction: “Revisiting the Modern Synthesis”. Journal of the History of Biology (pp. 509-518). unapi

Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB603354866/

Similar Citations

Article Catalá Gorgues, Jesús I.; (2013)
Miquel Crusafont, George Simpson y la internacionalización de los estudios de paleontología evolutiva en España (/isis/citation/CBB001213576/) unapi

Book Laporte, Léo F.; (2000)
George Gaylord Simpson. Paleontologist and Evolutionist (/isis/citation/CBB000100395/) unapi

Article Smocovitis, Vassiliki Betty; (2014)
Disciplining and Popularizing: Evolution and Its Publics from the Modern Synthesis to the Present (/isis/citation/CBB001420093/) unapi

Article Laporte, Léo F.; (2013)
A Novice's Biography of George Gaylord Simpson (/isis/citation/CBB001212344/) unapi

Book Sepkoski, David; (2012)
Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline (/isis/citation/CBB001210043/) unapi

Article Anya Plutynski; (2019)
Speciation Post Synthesis: 1960–2000 (/isis/citation/CBB489906012/) unapi

Thesis Paton, Miranda Vierra; (2008)
Vertebrate Paleontology and the Evolutionary Synthesis, 1894--1944 (/isis/citation/CBB001560692/) unapi

Article Philippe Huneman; (2019)
How the Modern Synthesis Came to Ecology (/isis/citation/CBB692195212/) unapi

Article Cain, J.; (2004)
Short Notes: Missing Items from Published Bibliographies for George Gaylord Simpson (/isis/citation/CBB000501171/) unapi

Article Marco Tamborini; (2017)
The reception of Darwin in late nineteenth-century German paleontology as a case of pyrrhic victory (/isis/citation/CBB021564496/) unapi

Article Yoichi Ishida; (2017)
Sewall Wright, shifting balance theory, and the hardening of the modern synthesis (/isis/citation/CBB492038485/) unapi

Article Laporte, Léo F.; (1994)
Simpson on species (/isis/citation/CBB000036620/) unapi

Article Ries, C. J.; (2007)
Creating the Proavis: Bird Origins in the Art and Science of Gerhard Heilmann 1913--1926 (/isis/citation/CBB000771957/) unapi

Chapter Hagen, Joel B.; (2009)
Descended from Darwin? George Gaylord Simpson, Morris Goodman, and Primate Systematics (/isis/citation/CBB001022521/) unapi

Chapter Ruse, Michael; (1999)
Evolutionary ethics in the 20th century: Julian Sorell Huxley and George Gaylord Simpson (/isis/citation/CBB000083344/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Laporte, Léo F.
Ruse, Michael
Cain, Joe
Cain, J.
Ries, C. J.
Hagen, Joel B.
Journals
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Journal of the History of Biology
Archives of Natural History
Earth Sciences History: Journal of the History of the Earth Sciences Society
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Publishers
Columbia University Press
University of Chicago Press
Cornell University
University of Chicago
Concepts
Evolution
Paleontology
Modern Synthesis (biology)
Biology
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Discipline formation
People
Simpson, George Gaylord
Huxley, Julian Sorell
Osborn, Henry Fairfield
Dobzhansky, Theodosius
Mayr, Ernst
Bucher, Walter
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
Places
United States
Denmark
Spain
Germany
Comments

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment