Human evolution theory utilizing concepts of neoteny & female sexual selection
An etiology of neuropsychological disorders such as autism and dyslexia, and the origin of left handedness.

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Buffon

Bubbon: bibliographical excerpts


"Curiously enough, as his work proceeded, Buffon managed, albeit in a somewhat scattered fashion, at least to mention every significant ingrediant which was to be incorporated into Darwin's great synthesis of 1859. He did not, however, quite manage to put these factors together. Specifically they mayh be analyzed as follows: 1. Button observed a tendency for life to multiply faster than its food supply and thus to promote a struggle for existence on the part of living things. ... 2. He recognized that within a single species there were variations in form. In domestic plants and animals these variations were often heritible, so that be careful selection the stock could be improved and the direction of the improvement controlled. 3. Buffon was impressed by the underlying similarity of structure among quite different animals, an observation which is a necessary prelude to tracing out ancestral relationships in the fossil past. 4. Buffon foreshadowed in some degree the uniformitarianism of James Hutton at the end of the century. Like De Maillet he sought natural explanations for the formations of the earth and for geological events. .... Buffon anticipated the need of a greatly lengthened time scale in order to acount for the stratification of the planet and the history of life upon it. 5.He accepted the fact that some of the animal life of the earth had become extinct. This he ascribed to the cooling to the earth which had eliminated the warmth-loving fauna of an earlier day. 6 Buffon also recognized the value of an experimental approach to evolutionary problems. The relations between species, he contended, could never be unraveled without long continued and difficult breeding experiments." (Eiseley, L (1958) Darwin’s Centry. Anchor Books: New York p. 40-2)

[Buffon quote from Boorstin] "We should regard two animals as belonging to the same species if, by means of copulation, they can perpetuate themselves and preserve the likeness of the species; and we should regard them as belonging to different species if they are incapable of producing progeny by the same means. Thus the fox will be known to be a different species from the dog, if it proves to be the fact that from the mating of a male and a female of these two kinds of animals no offspring is born; and even if there should result a hybrid offspring, a sort of mule, this would suffice to prove that fox and dog are not the same species -- inasmuch as this mule would be sterile." (Boorstin, Daniel J. (1983) The Discovers. Vintage Books: New York p.450)

"In arguing that a single ancestral form might diverge into a number of "species," Buffon came close to the modern concept of evolution. His recognition that migration to different parts of the world might cause the divergence also marks a pioneering effort in the study of geographical distribution as a clue to the history of life. But his idea that the environment acts directly on the organism through organic particles is a long way from the theory of natural selection. There is also the question of the origin of ancestral forms from which members of each family have diverged. In the modern theory, these too must have evolved from some even more basic form, whereas Buffon insisted that the character of each family is permanently fixed by its internal mold. Yet families must have had a starting point in time, because Buffon believed that the earth at first would have been too hot to support life. His alternative to evolution on a large scale was, in fact, spontaneous generation (Wilkie, 1956; Roger, 1963; Bowler, 1973).(Bowler PJ (1984) Evolution, The HIstory of an Idea. Univ of California Press: Berkeley p. 71)

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