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Development Dynamics in Humans and Other Primates: Discovering Evolutionary Principles through Comparative Morphology [Paperback]

by Jos Verhulst
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)


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Book Description

September 2003 0932776299 978-0932776297
In this book, Jos Verhulst expands on the evolutionary theory first proposed by Louis Bolk. The theory is based on the premise that aspects of the individual creatures' development - from juveniles to adults - are also at work in animal evolution as a whole. Verhulst shows that, unlike other primates - who start out with a rather humanlike form but become, say, apes - humans retain their original fetal form. Standing Darwinism on its head, he argues that humans have not descended from apes, but rather that apes have evolved by diverging from a humanlike prototype. He also proposes that the gradually emerging human prototype is the driving force, and central trunk, of the evolutionary tree - the wellspring from which the animal world has sprung.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Developmental Dynamics is a tour de force: a refreshingly original, profound and thought-provoking synthesis rooted in impressive scholarship." -- Martin Lockley, author of The Eternal Trail; Professor of Paleontology, University of Colorado

"If you are in any way curious about our origins, then I invite you to read this book." -- Kenneth McNamara, author of Shapes of Time: the Evolution of Growth and Development; Senior Curator, Invertebrate Paleontology, W.A. Museum, Perth, Australia

About the Author

Jos Verhulst was born in Belgium in 1949. He has a PhD in theoretical chemistry and has been widely published in the areas of evolutionary theory and comparative anatomy. He teaches science at the Waldorf School in Antwerp, Belgium.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 413 pages
  • Publisher: Adonis Press (September 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0932776299
  • ISBN-13: 978-0932776297
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,271,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the footsteps of Goethe, Steiner and Bolk October 2, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Goethe's ideas on developmental dynamics did not die off after his death. Verhulst goes into depth with two major Goethean thinkers--Karl Snell and William Heinrich Preuss--who filled in the gap of time between Goethe's death and Steiner's resurrection of Goethe's work beginning in the 1890's. Goethean scholars enthusiastically embraced the ideas of evolution that swept over Europe during this time, yet the spirituality of their approach was diametrically opposed to Darwinism and the materialistic trends dominating much of the nineteenth century. In the Goethean tradition, Snell saw the human prototype forming the central point in mammalian evolution, not an end point; not a product of primate evolution, but the central prototype from which emerged the animal kingdoms. Preuss went further by adding the plant and mineral kingdoms to the circle of evolution and identified the central gestalt as being the formative will hidden within all the kingdoms of nature.

Humans did not necessarily follow anthropoid apes according to a Darwinian line of descent. Other possible lines of descent open up as Verhulst draws comparisons between human, anthropoid apes, and the rest of the primates. Humans share certain traits with lower apes that are not present in higher apes. In fact, the more primitive platyrrhines share a number of remarkable similarities to humans that higher apes do not have: the brain and kidneys (of Spider Monkeys), the flat nails (of the Ateles), thigh muscles, and the spine. Now, according to Dolo's Law, evolution is irreversible; once a trait is acquired and lost it cannot be formed again. Therefore it would have been impossible for humans to have acquired these and other traits from the higher apes, since they were not present in anthropoids.
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