Sunday, August 5, 2007

Personalities rampant in "species"

I always thought of a species as one kind of thing, pretty homogenous. David Sloan Wilson in Evolution for Everyone introduced me to a very different and provocative vision.
"The conventional idea of a single species as a relatively uniform entity occupying a single niche has yielded to a much richer notion of a single species as a community of individuals employing different strategies to survive and reproduce.... [manifesting] individual differences that we recognize with the vaguely defined term 'personality.'" pp 107-108.

He gives many examples, including a fascinating one on p. 104 where one species of fish in one lake occupied different niches and were adapted to their different environments -- to such an extent that their bodies looked and acted significantly differently. I didn't know that was possible, outside of us and other mammals, at least....

1 comment:

Larry Victor said...

Tom, Good you're back. Was exploring your blogs and reading this post triggered remembering hearing Maturana say that evolution was always the co-evolution of species and niche. I need to explore Wilson's generalization.

I googled Maturana & niche and it opened a treasure chest of goodies, that I want to share; but you may already be aware.

I discovered Chris Lucas and his
and one of many very interesting online articles, including one on Autopoiesis and Coevolution.

My quick skim of this informs me that it is an excellent intro to Autopoiesis, which I studied decades ago and still feel that it serves as a viable alternative frame for understanding complex systems.

Chris Lucas appears to be much broader in scope than indicated by the use of "Artificial Live" in the name of his organization.

Have you heard of him? It astounds me how I keep discovering people and domains of ideas of which I had not been previously aware.

Hope you receive a notice of this comment. Given all that you have posted, if you are email alerted to each comment you would be greatly overloaded. Yet, that is better than searching through your blogs. This must be one of your challenges in seeking a new cybersystem for your work.

Larry (nuet)