Chapter 1 (Comments due 1/26, 9 a.m.)

Endless Forms Most Beautiful Chapter 1: Animal Architecture: Modern Forms, Ancient Designs


  • What is the evolutionary significance of animals being comprised of many serially repeated parts? How does having more than one of a particular part allow for innovation?
  • Looking at my two lovely, lavender-nailed hands I am struck by their chirality. (Ha! That's a pun in ancient Greek!)* Do you think the bilateral symmetry of vertebrates and arthropods is the point of, or just a consequence of, gene expression during embryonic development? In other words, do embryos activate particular genes during their development in order that adults grow up to be bilaterally symmetrical, or is bilateral symmetry just what happens when you start as a single cell that divides along a particular axis? And why are animals with bilateral symmetry not really symmetrical, but have stereosymmetry (i.e., our hands aren't identical, they're mirror-images)? Does our stereosymmetry support one side or another of this argument?

As with other reading assignments, please add your comments under the "Discuss" tag at the bottom of this wiki page so everyone else can get your input!

*You know what's cooler than puns? Puns in dead languages. You know what's cooler than that? Lil' Wayne The Dresden Dolls.

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