• Publications
  • Influence
MECHANISMS OF LARGE‐SCALE EVOLUTIONARY TRENDS
  • D. McShea
  • Biology, Medicine
    Evolution; international journal of organic…
  • 1 December 1994
TLDR
Three tests gave concordant results, suggesting first, that they work, and second, that the passive and driven mechanisms may correspond to natural categories of causes of large‐scale trends.
Detecting changes in morphospace occupation patterns in the fossil record: characterization and analysis of measures of disparity
Abstract Recently, there has been much interest in detecting and measuring patterns of change in disparity. Although most studies have used one or two measures of disparity to quantify and
Complexity and evolution: What everybody knows
The consensus among evolutionists seems to be (and has been for at least a century) that the morphological complexity of organisms increases in evolution, although almost no empirical evidence for
Individual versus social complexity, with particular reference to ant colonies
  • C. Anderson, D. McShea
  • Biology, Medicine
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical…
  • 1 May 2001
Insect societies – colonies of ants, bees, wasps and termites – vary enormously in their social complexity. Social complexity is a broadly used term that encompasses many individual and colony‐level
Origin and evolution of large brains in toothed whales.
TLDR
It is shown that brain size increased significantly in two critical phases in the evolution of odontocetes, and was accompanied by a decrease in body size in Delphinoidea only by 15 million years ago.
Biology's First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems
TLDR
"Biology's First Law" shows how the ZFEL can be applied to the study of diversity and complexity and examines its wider implications for biology.
PERSPECTIVE METAZOAN COMPLEXITY AND EVOLUTION: IS THERE A TREND?
  • D. McShea
  • Mathematics, Medicine
    Evolution; international journal of organic…
  • 1 April 1996
TLDR
A scheme for understanding complexity is proposed that provides a conceptual basis for objective measurement and shows complexity to be a broad term covering four independent types.
Two-phase increase in the maximum size of life over 3.5 billion years reflects biological innovation and environmental opportunity
TLDR
This period-level compilation of the largest known fossil organisms demonstrates that maximum size increased by 16 orders of magnitude since life first appeared in the fossil record.
Functional Complexity in Organisms: Parts as Proxies
The functional complexity, or the number of functions, of organisms hasfigured prominently in certain theoretical and empirical work inevolutionary biology. Large-scale trends in functional
The hierarchical structure of organisms: a scale and documentation of a trend in the maximum
TLDR
A higher-resolution scale is proposed in which hierarchical structure is decomposed into levels and sublevels, with levels reflecting number of layers of nestedness, and sub Levels reflecting degree of individuation at the highest level.
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