By Susan Oyama
The nature/nurture debate isn't really lifeless. Dichotomous perspectives of improvement nonetheless underlie many basic debates within the organic and social sciences. Developmental structures conception (DST) bargains a brand new conceptual framework with which to unravel such debates. DST perspectives ontogeny as contingent cycles of interplay between a various set of developmental assets, nobody of which controls the method. those elements comprise DNA, mobile and organismic constitution, and social and ecological interactions. DST has excited curiosity from a variety of researchers, from molecular biologists to anthropologists, due to its skill to combine evolutionary thought and different disciplines with out falling into conventional oppositions. The booklet presents ancient historical past to DST, fresh theoretical findings at the mechanisms of heredity, functions of the DST framework to behavioral improvement, implications of DST for the philosophy of biology, and important reactions to DST.
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Extra resources for Cycles of Contingency: Developmental Systems and Evolution
Ethology, the comparative study of animal behavior. Quarterly Review of Biology 33: 181–211. Gottlieb, G. (1971). Development of Species Identiﬁcation in Birds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Gottlieb, G. (1991). Experiential canalization of behavioral development: Theory. Developmental Psychology 27: 4–13. Hebb, D. O. (1937). The innate organization of visual activity: I. Perception of ﬁgures by rats reared in total darkness. Journal of Genetic Psychology 51: 101–126. Hebb, D. O. (1953).
Between them, those two publications contain what is still one of the clearest statements of the systems view of development, modern articulations of which are represented by the chapters in the present volume. Lehrman himself did not use the terminology of systems thinking, but his analysis of development illustrates many of the most signiﬁcant features of modern developmental systems theory (DST). As implied by the title of his 1953 paper, Lehrman articulated his developmental views in reaction to Lorenz’s presentation of classical ethological instinct theory, which emerged in the writings of Lorenz and his collaborators, especially Nikolaas Tinbergen, during the 1930s and 1940s (see Lehrman’s bibliography for citations to this literature).
The head is stimulated tactually by the yolk sac, which is moved mechanically by amnion contractions synchronized with the heartbeats which cause head movement. Beginning about one day later, the head ﬁrst bends actively in response to tactual stimulation. At about this time, too, the bill begins to open and close when the bird nods—according to Kuo, apparently through nervous excitation furnished by the head movements through irradiation in the still-incomplete nervous system. Bill-opening and closing become independent of head-activity only somewhat later.