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The Origins and Evolution of Animal Identity

Newman, Stuart A. (2020) The Origins and Evolution of Animal Identity. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The Darwinian synthesis focuses on speciation as the leading edge of evolution. But species are poor candidates for bearers of well-defined biological identity because they are always susceptible to giving rise to something new. Physicalist evolutionary developmental biology presents an alternative scenario in which broad differences between organismal types were ontologically and temporally prior to subtypes and species-level variants. The cell masses that first developed into the metazoans, or animals, for example, arose from unicellular antecedents by a set of molecular innovations that constituted the embryos of these organisms as an unprecedented form of matter – liquid and liquid crystalline tissues – and thus a natural kind. This novel material embodied a set of morphogenetic processes and motifs that laid the basis for subsequent animal evolution. With the addition of other molecular functionalities simple “basal” metazoan body plans (sponges, placozoans) engendered more complex diploblasts (cnidarians, ctenophores) and bilaterian triploblasts (arthropods, chordates, mollusks, and so forth). Self-organizing patterning processes arising within these integrated communities of cells produced segments, appendages, patterned skeletons and organs. Bioelectrical scaffolding effects and the standardizing effects of development from an egg transformed phylotypic forms into canalized, integrated individuals that exist in the biosphere as “natural purposes,” causes and effects of themselves.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Newman, Stuart A.newman@nymc.edu0000-0002-3569-6429
Additional Information: To appear in Biological Identity (Routledge), Eds. Anne Sophie Meincke & John Dupré
Keywords: natural kinds, natural purposes, inherency, liquid tissues, biogeneric materials
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email newman@nymc.edu
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2020 09:19
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2020 09:19
Item ID: 16788
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology > Developmental Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
General Issues > Laws of Nature
General Issues > Natural Kinds
Date: 3 January 2020
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/16788

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