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Once more into the wilderness of panbiogeography: a reply to Heads (2014)

Once more into the wilderness of panbiogeography: a reply to Heads (2014) In two recent papers in this journal a leading proponent of panbiogeography, Michael Heads, has continued his critique of long-distance dispersal and molecular clocks, and promotion of alternative geological and evolutionary ideas. An axiomatic rejection of long-distance dispersal, on the grounds that it has no explanatory power, informs these critiques. However, fundamental issues with panbiogeographic theory remain unaddressed. In particular, insurmountable problems for most biologists are created by the requirement for a widespread, often ancient ancestor from which vicariant taxa arose through orthogenesis, and rejection of a role for natural selection or environmental change in species formation. Heads also discusses events in New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s and claims the reaction of the scientific establishment to panbiogeography resulted in two panbiogeographers losing tenured positions, and excluded, silenced or drove the rest into exile. This is a dramatic but misleading interpretation of what happened. The losses of positions were unconnected to science issues. That it is difficult to get panbiogeographic work funded or published in New Zealand is undoubtedly true, but this fate is shared by any work that seeks to overturn established evolutionary theory but provides no convincing evidence for doing so. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Australian Systematic Botany CSIRO Publishing

Once more into the wilderness of panbiogeography: a reply to Heads (2014)

Australian Systematic Botany , Volume 28 (6): 6 – May 10, 2016

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Publisher
CSIRO Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1030-1887
eISSN
1446-4701
DOI
10.1071/SB15047
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In two recent papers in this journal a leading proponent of panbiogeography, Michael Heads, has continued his critique of long-distance dispersal and molecular clocks, and promotion of alternative geological and evolutionary ideas. An axiomatic rejection of long-distance dispersal, on the grounds that it has no explanatory power, informs these critiques. However, fundamental issues with panbiogeographic theory remain unaddressed. In particular, insurmountable problems for most biologists are created by the requirement for a widespread, often ancient ancestor from which vicariant taxa arose through orthogenesis, and rejection of a role for natural selection or environmental change in species formation. Heads also discusses events in New Zealand in the late 1980s and early 1990s and claims the reaction of the scientific establishment to panbiogeography resulted in two panbiogeographers losing tenured positions, and excluded, silenced or drove the rest into exile. This is a dramatic but misleading interpretation of what happened. The losses of positions were unconnected to science issues. That it is difficult to get panbiogeographic work funded or published in New Zealand is undoubtedly true, but this fate is shared by any work that seeks to overturn established evolutionary theory but provides no convincing evidence for doing so.

Journal

Australian Systematic BotanyCSIRO Publishing

Published: May 10, 2016

References