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Hierarchical Approaches to Macroevolution: Recent Work on Species Selection and the "Effect Hypothesis"

Todd A. Grantham
Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics
Vol. 26 (1995), pp. 301-321
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2097209
Page Count: 21
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Hierarchical Approaches to Macroevolution: Recent Work on Species Selection and the "Effect Hypothesis"
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Abstract

After briefly introducing the hierarchical perspective, I discuss several theoretical issues concerning the nature of species selection and Vrba's effect hypothesis, and I review recent empirical evidence supporting hierarchical approaches to macroevolution. I argue that Vrba's influential definition of species selection is flawed in two ways. First, species selection does not require emergent traits because higher-level selection acting on aggregate traits can oppose lower-level selection. Second, clades do not play the same role in species selection that populations play in organismic selection. If explanatory and ontological reductionism are distinguished, then even though effect macroevolution does not involve a distinct macroevolutionary process, effect hypothesis explanations can be irreducible. A few well-documented cases of species selection and effect macroevolution suggest the need for a hierarchical expansion of neodarwinism.

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