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Re: How The Giraffe Got (or didn't get) Its Long Neck



(note, I am not endorsing Lamarck's ideas, merely
agreeing with S.J. Gould that the textbook description of his idea is a
caricature of the position Lamarck actually held).

Such attitudes do seem to have existed later, though: judging from a short quote from his 1925/6/7 book I once read, Heilmann described the origin of birds in terms of innate urges to jump around in trees and heritability thereof.


Most current discussions (even in technical papers) ignore
the phylogenetic and temporal context that giraffes evolved in when
trying to solve this mystery.

They're trying to do biology in three dimensions. <snort>

"Nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution."
-- Th. Dobzhansky

"Nothing makes sense in evolution without a good phylogeny"
-- G. C. Gould & B. MacFadden

"Everything is the way it is because it got that way."
-- D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

(...While I am at it, this last quote utterly destroys all that armchair philosophy that claims "science answers 'how' questions, but cannot answer 'why' questions". The "why" questions have all already been answered; they have been turned into "how" and "what" questions, so these are all that remains. But I digress.)