Science & Education

, Volume 27, Issue 9–10, pp 1003–1016 | Cite as

Contemporary Perspectives on the Meaning, Roles, and Implications of Chance in Evolution

Grant Ramsey, Charles H. Pence, eds. (2016) Chance in Evolution. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London. ISBN: 978-0-226-40188-1, 359 pages, price: USD 45 (paperback)
  • Ariel Jonathan RofféEmail author
Book Review

Introduction and General Remarks

Since Darwin’s time, and especially since the modern synthesis in the first half of the twentieth century, researchers have recognized that chance plays some role in evolution. Just which role, what its relative importance is as an evolutionary factor and what its presence implies for our broader conception of the natural world have been matters of extensive empirical and conceptual debate.

To give just a few examples of the places where chance and contingency appear in evolutionary theory, consider the following: (1) Sometimes natural disasters occur (e.g., an earthquake, a forest fire) for which none of the organisms in a population is better adapted than any others. In those cases, the subset of organisms that survive and reproduce will be a random sample from the original population (this would be a case of drift); (2) On the other hand, mutationsare also said to be random. This sometimes means that they are not biased towards genes or traits that...


Conflict of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEFHIC-UNQ-CONICETNational University of QuilmesBuenos AiresArgentina

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