PERSPECTIVE METAZOAN COMPLEXITY AND EVOLUTION: IS THERE A TREND?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The notion that complexity increases in evolution is widely accepted, but the best-known evidence is highly impressionistic. Here I propose a scheme for understanding complexity that provides a conceptual basis for objective measurement. The scheme also shows complexity to be a broad term covering four independent types. For each type, I describe some of the measures that have been devised and review the evidence for trends in the maximum and mean. In metazoans as a whole, there is good evidence only for an early-Phanerozoic trend, and only in one type of complexity. For each of the other types, some trends have been documented, but only in a small number of metazoan subgroups.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McShea, DW

Published Date

  • April 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 477 - 492

PubMed ID

  • 28568940

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-5646

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0014-3820

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1558-5646.1996.tb03861.x

Language

  • eng