How and Why Biological Shapes change during Evolution: History of Ideas from D’Arcy Thompson to Developmental Genetics

The Linnean Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BF, United Kingdom
0207 434 4479 ext 211

EVENING MEETING 18:00–19:00 Thursday 18 April 2019

Arkhat abzhanov image
Image © Arkhat Abzhanov

In 1917, D’Arcy Thompson in his book On Growth and Form claimed that living organisms and their parts should be viewed as geometric shapes described by mathematical principles. He also suggested that “laws of growth” could explain the making of any particular biological form, and that changes in development, rather than natural selection, explain the diversity of biological shapes. This put him at odds with mainstream Darwinism, in which primarily environmental factors produce variation. We can now demonstrate that developmental processes indeed provide important, often pivotal, directives and constraints for the generation of biodiversity.

Dr Arkhat Abzhanov is a Reader in Evolution and Developmental Genetics at Imperial College London and Researcher at the Natural History Museum in London. He is interested in a variety of topics related to the vertebrate craniofacial (head) development, craniofacial genetic conditions in humans and cranial evolution. The animals he studies range from the laboratory "model" species, such as chicken embryos and mouse mutants, to the "non-model" species from the wild, such Darwin's Finches, crocodilians and bats.

  • This event is free and open to all.
  • Registration is essential. Seats will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Doors will open at 17:30. Please note that the meeting room will open at 17:45, 15 minutes prior to the start of the talk.
  • Tea will be served in the Library from 17:30 and the event will be followed by a white wine reception (cash bar).
  • Please note that Fellows-only tickets are limited to two tickets per Fellow (one for themself and a guest).

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