Acta Biotheoretica 34 (2-4):175-191 (1985)

Organisms are self-producing and self-maintaining, or autopoietic systems. Therefore, the course of evolution and adaptation of an organism is strongly determined by its own internal properties, whatever role external selection may play. The internal properties may either act as constraints that preclude certain changes or they open new pathways: the organism canalizes its own evolution. As an example the evolution of feeding mechanisms in salamanders, especially in the lungless salamanders of the family Plethodontidae, is discussed. In this family a large variety of different feeding mechanisms is found. The authors reconstruct this evolutionary process as a series of bifurcation points of either constraints or opportunities forming a sequence of preconditions for the formation of a high-speed projectile tongue characteristic of tropical salamanders. Furthermore, it is shown how parallel evolution of seemingly unrelated domains within an organism such as respiratory physiology, life history biology and pattern of ontogeny has rather direct relevance to the feeding biology, thus demonstrating that organisms always evolve as wholes.
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DOI 10.1007/BF00046783
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Viability Explanation.Arno Wouters - 1995 - Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):435-457.

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