The Active Role of Behaviour in Evolution


Location: Galvin Life Sciences Building, Room 283

Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS Professor of Ethology (emeritus), Cambridge University; president of the Zoological Society of London

The orthodox position about biological evolution, still clung to by many, is that changes in genetic organization produce phenotypes that might or might not have a selective advantage over others. Those organisms that survive and reproduce are essentially passive in the evolutionary process. In opposition to this view, much evidence suggests that a variety of processes operating in the lifetime of the individual influence actively the evolution of its descendants. These include dispersal, choice, control of the environment, and developmental plasticity.

In this talk, Bateson will review some of the evidence that requires a fresh approach to biological evolution.

Sponsored by the Evolution Working Group in the Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values