• Publications
  • Influence
  • D. W. McShea
  • Biology, Medicine
  • Evolution; international journal of organic…
  • 1 December 1994
Large‐scale evolutionary trends may result from driving forces or from passive diffusion in bounded spaces. Such trends are persistent directional changes in higher taxa spanning significant periodsExpand
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Individual versus social complexity, with particular reference to ant colonies
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‐levelExpand
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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 andExpand
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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 forExpand
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Biology's First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems
Life on earth is characterized by three striking phenomena that demand explanation: adaptation - the marvelous fit between organism and environment; diversity - the great variety of organisms; andExpand
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Origin and evolution of large brains in toothed whales.
Toothed whales (order Cetacea: suborder Odontoceti) are highly encephalized, possessing brains that are significantly larger than expected for their body sizes. In particular, the odontoceteExpand
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  • D. W. McShea
  • Mathematics, Medicine
  • Evolution; international journal of organic…
  • 1 April 1996
The notion that complexity increases in evolution is widely accepted, but the best‐known evidence is highly impressionistic. Here I propose a scheme for understanding complexity that provides aExpand
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Two-phase increase in the maximum size of life over 3.5 billion years reflects biological innovation and environmental opportunity
The maximum size of organisms has increased enormously since the initial appearance of life >3.5 billion years ago (Gya), but the pattern and timing of this size increase is poorly known.Expand
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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 functionalExpand
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The hierarchical structure of organisms: a scale and documentation of a trend in the maximum
Abstract The degree of hierarchical structure of organisms—the number of levels of nesting of lower-level entities within higher-level individuals—has apparently increased a number of times in theExpand
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