In evolutionary biology, a spandrel is a phenotypic characteristic that is a byproduct of the Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin brought the term into biology in their influential paper “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme”. This defined the. “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist “Spandrels” was originally written in , and that year Gould delivered it as a talk to the Royal Society. Gould had visited St. Mark’s Cathedral . Stephen Jay Gould & Richard Lewontin’s article “The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the.

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Now I should warn you about my prejudices. Mezentius on September 2, at 2: Can we recognise the write stuff? Gould and Lewontin say that this area is an inevitable consequence of putting a dome on top of four arches.

mrco Gould saw the term to be optimally spansrels for evolutionary biology for “the concept of a nonadaptive architectural by-product of definite and necessary form — a structure of particular size and shape that then becomes available for later and secondary utility”. My main complaint is not the list of specific manifestations but the underlying claim that there exists a human nature, which then the claimant must give examples of, and so each claimant gives examples that are convenient for his or her pet theory.

Well, he is a geneticist, a biologist. What a pleasure, Dick! Lewontin is a population geneticist by training and pioneered the method of gel electrophoresis among many other accomplishments.


The grounds Gould does accept to have validity in assigning or denying a structure the status of spandrel are historical order and comparative anatomy. This interests me very much.

April 7, at 1: I have to manually scroll down, read, and manually scroll up and try to figure out maco I left off.

Why “The Spandrels of San Marco” isn’t a good paper | Oikos Blog

However, Alasdair Houston subsequently suggested that another architectural term, ” pendentive “, might be a more accurate description of such constraints. There is a section in there, which one can easily pick out, where I discuss the various factors spandrles forces of evolution… DSW: Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Their critique of their own field of evolutionary biology spilled saan of the Ivory Tower onto the pages of general intellectual forums such as the New York Review of Books.

This page was last edited on 25 Decemberat All this is, of course, nonsense. This is a fine and interesting interview. In domes, that is. That is, as you are aware, a very common phenomenon in writing about and teaching evolution. Thus, no math and no genetics — both of which are essential in understanding evolution. Mezentius on September 2, at 3: Spandrles and Lewontin attack a few specific spancrels of what they claim are general tendencies in adaptationist research, but the reader is supposed to take their word for it that these few instances are representative.

If I could convince people to use that notion of niche, not as a fixed thing, but as something that is manufactured by the organism, I would be very very happy. What they never bother to explain spadnrels how the heck we ever got complex, functioning organisms that could exhibit developmental constraints and allometry in the first place.


Here are some quotes from their paper: December 22, at 3: What he showed was every organism of xan he took moving pictures—both plants and animals—have around them a layer of warm moist air—even trees have it—which is being produced by the organisms themselves.

If Gould and Lewontin had viewed spandrels as adaptations, but adaptations for a different purpose than displaying ornamentation, they would not have chosen spandrels as an example, because in that case spandrels would not illustrate an alternative to adaptation.

The metaphor is totally wrong.

Steve and I had that kind of struggle constantly. But that makes it a complicated evolutionary story. I mean, it seems it spwndrels have been strightforward to set the issue by asking architects in the first time. These secondary processes and thoughts can eventually turn into an adaptation or provide a fitness advantage to humans.

Got it confused with exaptations.

The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm

Someone like a Carl Zimmer or Jonathan Weiner, but who is also a working evolutionary biologist, maybe? Evidence is obtained by comparing current examples of the structure in a cladistic context and by subsequently trying to determine a historical order from the distribution yielded by tabulation.

Retrieved from ” https: For a take in the same spirit as mine, see here.