Richard Gawne

Richard Gawne is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University and coeditor of The Convergent Evolution of Agriculture in Humans and Insects (MIT Press)

  • The Convergent Evolution of Agriculture in Humans and Insects

    Ted R. Schultz, Richard Gawne, and Peter N. Peregrine

    Contributors explore common elements in the evolutionary histories of both human and insect agriculture resulting from convergent evolution.

    During the past 12,000 years, agriculture originated in humans as many as twenty-three times, and during the past 65 million years, agriculture also originated in nonhuman animals at least twenty times and in insects at least fifteen times. It is much more likely that these independent origins represent similar solutions to the challenge of growing food than that they are due purely to chance. This volume seeks to identify common elements in the evolutionary histories of both human and insect agriculture that are the results of convergent evolution. The goal is to create a new, synthetic field that characterizes, quantifies, and empirically documents the evolutionary and ecological mechanisms that drive both human and nonhuman agriculture.

    The contributors report on the results of quantitative analyses comparing human and nonhuman agriculture; discuss evolutionary conflicts of interest between and among farmers and cultivars and how they interfere with efficiencies of agricultural symbiosis; describe in detail agriculture in termites, ambrosia beetles, and ants; and consider patterns of evolutionary convergence in different aspects of agriculture, comparing fungal parasites of ant agriculture with fungal parasites of human agriculture, analyzing the effects of agriculture on human anatomy, and tracing the similarities and differences between the evolution of agriculture in humans and in a single, relatively well-studied insect group, fungus-farming ants.

    • Paperback $75.00

Contributor

  • The Individual in the Animal Kingdom

    Julian S. Huxley

    The groundbreaking first book by a major evolutionary biologist, published in 1912, that anticipated current thinking about organismal complexity.

    Julian Huxley's The Individual in the Animal Kingdom, published in 1912, is a concise and groundbreaking work that is almost entirely unknown today. In it, Huxley analyzes the evolutionary advances in life's organizational complexity, anticipating many of today's ideas about changes in individuality. Huxley's overarching system of concepts and his coherent logical principles were so far ahead of their time that they remain valid to this day. In part, this is because his explicitly Darwinian approach carefully distinguished between the integrated form and function of hierarchies within organisms and loosely defined, nonorganismal ecological communities.

    In The Individual in the Animal Kingdom, we meet a youthful Huxley who uses his commanding knowledge of natural history to develop a nonreductionist account of life's complexity that aligns with seminal early insights by Darwin, Wallace, Weismann, and Wheeler. As volume editors Richard Gawne and Jacobus Boomsma point out, this work disappeared into oblivion despite its relevance for contemporary research on organismal complexity and major evolultionary transitions. This MIT Press edition gives Huxley's book a second hearing, offering readers a unique vantage point on the discoveries of evolutionary biology past and present.

    • Hardcover $25.00