Posted by: Jeremy Fox | May 1, 2012

Carnival of Evolution #47

This month’s compilation of the best in evolutionary blogging is now up at Evolving Thoughts. Lots of good stuff as usual.

One post that caught my eye talks about how Steven J. Gould was wrong to claim that Cope’s Rule applies only to living organisms, not inanimate objects. This caught my eye not because Steven J. Gould was wrong (that’s hardly news), but because I like comparative analyses that probe the range of applicability of our ideas. If you find that Cope’s Rule applies to inanimate objects, or that college basketball wins have the same “species abundance distribution” as ecological communities, or that cars, like living species, have a triangular “body size-species richness” distribution*, you’ve learned something you wouldn’t have learned just by thinking about ecology. Such comparisons can suggest general, non-ecological explanations for ecological patterns. Such comparisons also can reveal patterns that are so ubiquitous that they’re perhaps not very interesting at all.

*as I believe was shown by an old paper of John Lawton’s in Oikos, but I can’t find the reference

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