Theoretical Morphology

The Concept and Its Applications

George R. McGhee, Jr.

Columbia University Press

Theoretical Morphology

Pub Date: January 1999

ISBN: 9780231106177

378 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $55.00£46.00

Pub Date: January 1999

ISBN: 9780231106160

378 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $150.00£125.00

Theoretical Morphology

The Concept and Its Applications

George R. McGhee, Jr.

Columbia University Press

Theoretical morphology--which seeks to sketch the range of forms that biological entities could take, with the ultimate goal of discovering why certain forms exist but others do not--is among paleontology's most significant contributions to the understanding of evolution. Today, with the aid of computers in developing conceivable morphologies, the discipline has been able to advance into a remarkable tool for the study of evolution. Yet despite these advances, the field remains largely untapped and ripe with research potential. In this volume, paleontologist George McGhee presents the first complete overview of the field, its advancements in recent years, and the challenges ahead.

Theoretical Morphology provides readers with the background they need to launch their own research. McGhee describes the steps involved in defining the geometric parameters (theoretical morphospaces) for an organic form in order to generate a spectrum of other possible forms that have never actually appeared. He also addresses the simulation of actual processes of morphogenesis, with the goal of attaining a more nuanced comprehension of how evolutionary processes work.

Theoretical Morphology takes readers through a variety of theoretical morphospaces including those for univalved, bivalved, discrete, and branching growth systems. With a glossary of terms and a comprehensive list of references on the subject, this is an excellent handbook for graduate students or professional scientists interested in employing these cutting-edge techniques in their own research.
In his excellent book Theoretical Morphology: The Concept and Its Applications, George McGhee provides an admirable introduction to the complex theoretical landscape surrounding the exploration of possible biological form...an enthusiastic and scholarly summary of an exciting new scientific discipline. James MacLaurin, University of Otago, Biology and Philosophy
Preface
What is Thereotical Morphology?
The Concept of the Theoretical Morphospace
Twists and Twigs: Theoretical Morphospaces of Branching Growth Systems
Spiral and Shells I: Theoretical Morphospaces of Univalved Accretionary Growth Systems
Spirals and Shells II: Theoretical Morphospaces of Bivalved Accretionary Growth Systems
Step by Step: Theoretical Morphospaces of Discrete Growth Systems
The Time Dimension: Evolution and Theoretical Morphospaces
Theoretical Models of Morphogenesis: An Example
Theoretical Models of Accretionary Growth Systems
Theoretical Models of Other Aspects of Morphogenesis in Nature
The Future of Theoretical Morphology
Glossary

About the Author

George R. McGhee, Jr. is professor of geological sciences at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Late Devonian Mass Extinction: The Frasnian/Famennian Crisis (Columbia). He has held research positions at the University of Tübingen, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum of Natural History.