Talk:Evolutionary biology

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Cut from intro paragraph:

One who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist, or less frequently evolutionist.

It is excruciatingly obvious that one who studys any -ology is an -ologist. I don't see why that has to be in the intro. It certainly doesn't tell the reader anything he doesn't already know.

Worse, it blurs the distinction between advocates of evolution (particular materialistic theories) and those who are merely students of the field. Someone who studies stellar objects like stars, galaxies, black holes, and what not, is called an astronomer. As astronomy has progressed, various astronomers have had their pet theories - such as the Big Bang. But not everyone who studies astronomy is a Big Bang advocate, and not even everyone who learns a lot about the Big Bang hypothesis is an advocate of it. Uncle Ed 17:13, August 23, 2005 (UTC)

I would have thought that the most common short form of evolutionary biologist in everyday use was simply biologist.SheffieldSteel 17:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

List of notable figures isn't useful[edit]

Recently I rewrote the artificial life page. It had a long list of "contributors" much like this page. These long lists aren't really all that useful, especially in the core article for a field. If you're a lay person, a list of names isn't going to let you suddenly understand a field. If a list of names is to be maintained anywhere, it should probably be in a seperate article.

Preferably, the names of anyone of merit would be included in the article itself as part of a sentence that touches on that person's contributions. For instance, if you discuss selfish gene theory, you would drop Dawkin's name. Any "notables" that can't be "name dropped" in this way probably aren't all that notable afterall. --Numsgil 12:03, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

The point of the notable names list is that, should someone have the desire to look at other important evolutionary scientists, they can just click the link and be on their way to the biography page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:11, 8 December 2009 (UTC)


I would prefer to remove Ohta - to me she is only a minor contributor to the controversy about distribution of mutational effects and definitely not a "notable". If she is included, so please be John H. Gillespie, whose work in that particular field I think has been more influential. Let's try and keep the list tight and sweet, and only include the 20-25 most notable! I'll remove her for now. - Samsara 17:26, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

Seeing that Steve Jones, another clear "minor", has been included, I compromised on including Gillespie. Would prefer if all three were omitted.
Edit: include Dawkins in that - maybe Jones and Dawkins could go into the writers section? Or a new transitional section for writers who make some contribution to science, but not a notable one? - Samsara 17:32, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I've added Weismann and Malécot to redress the anglophonic bias. - Samsara 22:26, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

In fact, this is where evolutionary biologists should be listed (by including the appropriate tag in their biographical article) Category:Evolutionary_biologists. So this here page would be the place for a more curated list. - Samsara 22:56, 22 December 2005 (UTC)

I've curated the list. I also think it would be nice to give a half-line summary of the contribution each has made, e.g.
August Weismann - advanced theory that only germ cells reproduce; Weismann barrier
The list is still too long. I propose to limit it to people who have made discoveries directly relevant to how evolution works. Lynn Margulis would be an example of someone who is not in this category; rather, I would say she discovered a very interesting just-so-story (in spite of me admiring her work). Watson and Crick, after all, are absent for the same reason! I've already excluded some others who could be said to use evolution as a tool rather than contributing to an understanding of its mechanisms. Debate? - Samsara 23:09, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
Here I don't agree, Tomoko Ohta is an extremely important evolutionary biologist. She's not a very public figure, not known as much as Maynard or Wilson, but her contributions to our knowledge of population genetics and molecular evolution is fundamental, in fact, in all my books on those subjects, she always have more citations than Gillespie (which is also a very brilliant scientist). In my opinion, it's important not to give too much importance to some scientists just because they are known by the public. Personally, I would add Tomoko Ohta (for the nearly neutral theory), and I would cut James F. Crow, Gregor Mendel and Alfred Wallace. --PhDP 02:03, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
I think Lynn Margulis has radically reshaped our understanding of evolution by pointing out that some very important steps, like the formation of the eukaryotic cell, arise from endosymbiosis. So, instead of thinking of a single genome as a unit of evolution, it's very important to think about coalitions that can cooperate to the point of fusing into a single organism. I don't think the term 'just-so story' is appropriate here: her theory is widely recognized as true. But maybe experts don't consider this subject to be part of 'evolution'? John Baez (talk) 00:58, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Less subjective?[edit]

Stephen Jay Gould has been moved to the section of "people known primarily for their science popularization" (I should check whether wikipedia is supposed to be British or American English...) I think whether he is primarily known for popularization or his scientific contributions depends on who you talk to. The man in the street will say science pop, the scientist will say "punctuated eqm". Thoughts? - Samsara 13:09, 1 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure about Gould, he made some interesting contributions (Ontogeny and Phylogeny, "Spandrels"...) even if it wasn't always easy between him and evolutionary biologists. Dawkins hasn't made any great contributions to evolutionary biology, he's mostly spending time defending a very orthodox view of evolution à la Williams --PhDP 02:03, 27 January 2006 (UTC)


I removed "The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma" and "Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution" from the "Notable monographs and other works" section. Those are not important monographs in evolutiony biology. I've added Motoo Kimura's book. Perhaps Susumu Ohno's book on duplication ? Also, about Mayrand's "Major transistions", I'm not sure it's a notable contribution to science. His book on the evolution of sex, however, that was a real contribution. However I don't want to change everything without a warning, so if somebody have an objection... ? - PhDP 04:11, 3 February 2006 (UTC)


would sympathtic editors consider a positive vote here? [1]Slrubenstein | Talk 15:18, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

merging in current research section[edit]

At present, I don't think 'current research in evolutionary biology' needs its own article. There's a whole separate set of problems with having an article devoted to "current" things, but just as far as article size and scope I think it should be merged in. Opinions? --Alynna 00:36, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

It has to be noted one of the reasons I moved that bit out to its own article is because it wasn't very good, but had just enough merit that it was being put back into Evolution repeatedly despite reversion out. Since there were a few useful things in it, thought I'd move it out, see if anything developed, and then see about a merging back in.
I'm not sure there's anything all that worth keeping in it at present: You xcould do far better by just copying the introduction from microRNA, a few sections from Evolution, a little abiogenesis, a smattering of Hardy-Weinburg equilibrium, and so on for this article (they'd be duplicates for a bit, but they'd diverge in time.). Perhaps leave it be a week, and if not been improved by then, AfD it? You can do better for article sections elsewhere in Wikipedia. Adam Cuerden talk 01:51, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

Merge, it's practically useless on its own.Meson man 04:13, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

It should probably be merged to History of evolutionary thought, which already has a similar section.--ragesoss 21:33, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Uncertainty of evolutionary biology should have more emphasis[edit]

I think that the uncertainty of evolutionary biology should be stressed more. For example, here is what was published by a evolutionist scientists:

"When discussing organic evolution the only point of agreement seems to be: "It happened." Thereafter, there is little consensus, which at first sight must seem rather odd." - Simon Conway Morris (palaeontologist, Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University, UK), "Evolution: Bringing Molecules into the Fold," Cell, Vol. 100, pp.1-11, January 7, 2000, p.11

"If it is true that an influx of doubt and uncertainty actually marks periods of healthy growth in a science, then evolutionary biology is flourishing today as it seldom has flourished in the past. For biologists collectively are less agreed upon the details of evolutionary mechanics than they were a scant decade ago. Superficially, it seems as if we know less about evolution than we did in 1959, the centennial year of Darwin's on the Origin of Species." (Niles Eldredge, "Time Frames: The Rethinking of Darwinian Evolution and the Theory of Punctuated Equilibria," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1985, p14). 03:46, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately these quote mines misrepresent the picture. There is no significant disagreement on the validity of evolution by any mainstream organisation or group. What these refer to is debate about the particulars of the processes behind it. I recommend you read the entire articles as then you will see how the quotes have been taken out of context. Eldredge's work has been consistently and sadly misrepresented by creationists. I recommend looking also at the quote mine project, where dozens of mangled quotes are used (many from the works you cited) to try to argue that there is doubt over evolution. --Davril2020 04:36, 12 December 2006 (UTC)
Davril2020, I don't believe you have shown the quotes were taken out of context. 00:49, 13 December 2006 (UTC)

Independently of possibly being a "quote mining", if indeed it is a legitimate opinion of some researcher, it would far from a consensus or even of opinon held by a a representative part of researchers of the area. Independente lines of evidence of rather distant areas of science mutually support universal common ancestry in a way that would be absurdly unlikely to be just chance, so that makes the major point of agreement that "it happened". It is not as if they first agreed that it happened, but then no one knows why, which evidence would favors that - as the quote sounds a bit like, even if unintentionally. The "little consensus", is that, despite of the abundant amounts of evidence of relatedness for a single genealogical tree of all life, the actual details of the unfolding of the history that led to that, can still be argued in many points and levels. For example, even without the knowledge of mendelian genetics and the theory of natural selection, universal common ancestry would still be greatly supported by evidence, and could still be argued about the mechanism of change in lineages, if hereditary change were somehow environmentally-induced, directed by individual efforts; if it were somehow pre-programmed in an way analog to the developmental process of individuals; or if it was essentially random. And even when some of this points are settled, some points can still be argued within the acceptation of that. Such as, even if it is accepted that mutations are random in respect to fitness, perhaps they are not totally random at the biochemical level. And so forth. --Extremophile 14:54, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Firstly, the quotes are by definition taken out of context. They are not in context. No [context] is provided.
Secondly, what is the proposed solution to the issue of "uncertainty" in this field? I suppose we could add a little notice to the top this - and indeed every other - science article that says, "This article documents an area of ongoing scientific research. Scientific theories may be revised as new observations come to light," although, given the subject matter, I suspect our IP address might be happier with "This is a theory, not a fact," an assertion which is, in this context, worthless.SheffieldSteel 17:57, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

MERGE with Evolution ?[edit]

The article Evolution begins with the phrase "This article is about evolution in biology". I therefore fail to see how the the Evolutionary biology article differs. If the present article carried a lot of detail I might be persuaded that there was a case for making the evolution article merge with the current article (which I agree is more correctly named). However, the fact is that this is the shorter article. Therefore I wish to float the suggestion that this article be merged into the other article.--Tom (talk) 21:56, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

This article is not about evolution in biology, it is about the scientific discipline that studies evolution, which is called "evolutionary biology". Two distinct topics.--ragesoss (talk) 22:06, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
This article starts with "Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the origin of species from a common descent and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication and diversity over time. Someone who studies evolutionary biology is known as an evolutionary biologist." Sounds like "evolution in biology" to me. You are straining to produce another article on the same topic as Evolution.Pasado (talk) 21:46, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
The distinction is a fundamental one, like the difference between history of art and art history. I agree that this article could be more clear and detailed to make that distinction more obvious, but the content and scope of the two articles are very different.--ragesoss (talk) 00:00, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

r/K selection theory[edit]

could some biologists chip in at the talk page regarding the current status of this theory?·Maunus·ƛ· 12:52, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Agree that merge with Evolution is needed[edit]

Posting the topic again since it's been quiet since 2008...As a working evolutionary biologist, I support Tom and Pasado in the above discussion about merging this article with evolution. There are sound reasons why Wikipedia does not have separate articles for Genetics=the mechanisms of heredity, as distinct from Genetics=the discipline that studies those mechanisms.... nor separate articles on Biochemistry: the facts and explanations + Biochemistry: the research discipline... nor separate articles on population genetics principles vs. population genetics the field of research. This article needs to merge with or be redirected to evolution. AnneED (talk) 11:08, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

  • Support-Just a small issue however, I don't think there's much here that would enhance the Evolution article, but you could try. Evolution is a completely biological process, so evolutionary biology doesn't make sense. You and I may be the only editors watching this article. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:12, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Well the term "evolutionary biology" does exist, but it is simply the more formal way to name the study of Evolution. Doesn't require a separate article... "merge" or "delete" would be equally good solutions to me, although many articles in the "Evolutionary Biology" series point to this one. AnneED (talk) 16:18, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Those links can be fixed easily. All you need to do is redirect Evolutionary biology to evolution. I would suggest deletion. If there's anything good here, just add it to the Evolution article. I just don't see much.OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 16:26, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure. I agree there's little in this article that shouldn't be merged with evolution, but I also think that there's room for a separate article here (as ragesoss said a few years ago). In essence, evolution should cover "what is evolution" while evolutionary biology would cover "how is evolution studied", with more emphasis on the history of the academic discipline, major researchers, research centres, professional societies... Guettarda (talk) 17:10, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
I am fine with merging, but not deleting. Evolution is slightly odd as a scientific discipline. I think it was Ernst Mayr who commented on the oddity that everybody considers evolution to be a topic about which they are qualified to offer an expert opinion. It is often forgotten that evolutionary biology is not just an old discovery of Darwin's, but an ongoing field of science. Nobody would make that mistake with regard to biochemistry, but they do with evolution, hence the need for clarity on this point. While it would be nice to say that all biology is evolutionary and hence the "evolutionary" biology is redundant, this just isn't true in practice, eg plenty of biochemistry is not particularly affected by evolution in its scientific practice. It is also interesting to point out the long delay between Darwin and the professionalization of the field. BTW, I have a vested interested here: I wrote the "Current Research" section. It is based on a graduate lecture I gave that was surprising hard to formulate. I do think the material is important.Joannamasel (talk) 18:00, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, merge. But we have a problem in that evolution is already too long. --Ettrig (talk) 21:13, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
Amusing side bar. I thought no one was watching this article. AnneED got all of you out of your slumber. Hehehehehe. OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 00:08, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Support - I disagree with Ettrig's contention that evolution is already too long. The problem with evolution is not its length, but its content, which is why we have this problem here. If the content in evolution is improved, we can fix this problem and bring its size down to a manageable level.Thompsma (talk) 23:30, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
Support. For reasons given by other editors. danielkueh (talk) 00:34, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
Much time has passed by and so far no more opposition to the proposed merger. It seems that the ideal solution would be to make this page a redirect to evolution. Any more thoughts? danielkueh (talk) 20:15, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Shouldn't be merged with 'evolution'[edit]

This article should be about the academic discipline that people call 'evolutionary biology': its organization and structure, its history, its notable practitioners, and its relation to other fields such as evo-devo, genomics, population genetics, population biology, quantitative genetics, phylogenetics and so on. These issues are complicated, interesting, and important. For example, it takes some work to explain how the discipline of evolutionary biology arose and how it related to all these other disciplines! But these issues are *not* what most people will want to learn about when they're reading an article on evolution. As someone noted, it's a bit like the difference between art and art history. Or for that matter, rocks and geology. John Baez (talk) 01:14, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I disagree and I would consider myself an expert in this field. All those things are covered in evolution proper. You are correct about the problems in the evolution article and I am working to have those things corrected.Thompsma (talk) 23:32, 3 August 2011 (UTC)
I completely agree with you. The merge is strange. The "Evolutionary science" article should talk about the scientific discipline itself, while the "Evolution" article should talk about the fact and theory of evolution. Merging them is like merging Zoology with Animal or Psychology with Mind. --Kyknos (talk) 14:06, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
(Why is this discussion going on in parallel in two sections?) The kind of structure that John Baez is asking for is typical for how we treat the more popular subjects in mathematics, and I think it makes perfect sense. But it comes with some problems in the implementation: The less popular part (invariably the one about the field as such) usually gets little attention, and often we have unclear boundaries between the two.
The same situation exist(ed) here as well. It is much harder to write an article that gives a high-level view of a field than to explain its basics. Therefore we typically end up with a mixture of stuff that really belongs in the other article, a little bit of history, a list of subfields, and various crufty lists. That's a sore sight, but simply replacing it by a revert loses important, relevant information and may remove the incentive the fix the problem correctly by rewriting the article.
This article was simply turned into a redirect, and that did lose information. I don't think that's acceptable. At the very least, in a merge, information about the field of evolutionary biology as an academic field (assuming that it is generally seen as one, presumably a subfield or sub-subfield of biology) would have to be incorporated into the Evolution article. But given its size and the fact that this will hardly interest the average reader, that's probably not a good idea, so the present article should simply be restored. Hans Adler 00:54, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Restoration of Evolutionary biology[edit]

I propose that Evolutionary Biology is restored as an independent article to distinguish between Evolution as a concept and Evolutionary Biology as a field of research. The deletion discussion can be found in the two section above and here at the Evolution talk page. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:38, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

To add, rewrite can be found here: User:KimvdLinde/EB. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 22:59, 10 December 2011 (UTC)


  1. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:38, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  2. --Enric Naval (talk) 04:15, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  3. --OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 06:51, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  4. Hans Adler 09:38, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  5. --Plantsurfer (talk) 10:21, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  6. -- Joannamasel (talk) 16:42, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  7. -- Alatari (talk) 18:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  8. -- Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:02, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  9. Mathsci (talk) 02:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  10. --Kyknos (talk) 13:10, 9 May 2012 (UTC)
  11. --John Baez (talk) 07:57, 15 July 2012 (UTC)


  1. Thompsma (talk) 06:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)


I think that the 'merging' of this article in the evolution article was misguided and conflates the field of evolution research with the concept of research, evolution. I think there is more than enough material to warrant a separate article dealing with the field as a separate entity. This is not to say that the current article might need some trimming and that some material is out of place and better suited for the evolution article. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 03:50, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Can we set up a draft page of what the restored evolutionary biology article would contain? That would perhaps help clarify a vote. I am not in favor of restoring the old evolutionary biology page in its previous form, but might change my vote if the page were first improved. Most of the material on the previous evolutionary biology page was not of high quality, and/or did not go beyond what could be found on other pages. There are (at least) two aspects to evolutionary biology, the history of the field and current research. The former is now covered quite well in evolution and history of evolutionary thought and the latter in current research in evolutionary biology. I also don't see the justification for the subset of notable evolutionary biologists that was listed compared to the full list. Joannamasel (talk) 04:56, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I made a copy here for that purpose. Despite that, I think it is ridiculous to split the article about a complete research field over multiple articles and create content forks to accommodate sections that cannot be dumped elsewhere. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 05:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I oppose because evolution and evolutionary biology are one in the same. Douglas Futuyma has written several of the cornerstone textbooks on the subject. "I had intended to prepare a digest of Evolutionary Biology (Third Edition, 1998), rendered of its excess, and while much of the structure and some of the text of this book descend directly from that tome, it became clear that a new book was in the making." (Futuyma - preface for textbook titled "Evolution" [2]). Earlier editions of this book were titled "Evolutionary Biology". How can later editions of the same textbook with two different titles "Evolutionary biology" later shortened to "Evolution" that describe the same material be considered different subjects in Wikipedia? There is no WP:V citation that makes the distinction between evolutionary biology and evolution. Find a reference that makes this claim and I will consider this, but until then I'm sticking with Futuyma on this one. Chemistry is a discipline as evolution is a discipline. There are molecules and chemicals in chemistry in the way that there are genes and organisms in evolution. There is the more elaborate title - chemical sciences in the same way that there is the more elaborate title of evolutionary biology. Biology is the study of life in the same way that evolution is the study of life in relation to its history and heritable change. When you visit the biology pages it also describes the science in a section titled research.Thompsma (talk) 06:20, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I quit frankly think that if you conflate evolution the concept with evolutionary biology the field of research, you really have no clue what you are talking about. Futuyma describes the evolution of his books, not that they are the same. He even explicitly says he removed the excess of the earlier book, so it is obviously not the same anymore. I just checked Evolution and did not find a description of Evolutionary biology as a field in the evolution article. As it should be absent. But let me say it this way. I study evolution. I work in evolutionary biology. I am an evolutionary biologist. I am not an evolutionist. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 12:36, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I see that I have lost support in my argument here - so I concede that others see a difference where I do not. However, I don't appreciate the statement that I have no clue what I am talking about. I have read/own both versions of Futuyma's books and they cover the same content. This is a simple point of semantics and conceptual schemes that vary from person to person - which is perfectly acceptable. People can hold different opinions on things, but it is not in the spirit of scientific practice to suggest to those who hold different views have no idea what they are talking about. My understanding is that you are making the distinction between evolution the process and evolution the science. I disagree, however, that evolution the process = evolution, whereas evolution the science = evolutionary biology. If people want to make this distinction, this is fine - but I think it is a kind of post-hoc distinction that I have seen in the literature. It could be a useful distinction to make and I see that Hans Adler has provided a source that makes this distinction and so I am satisfied with this. Good luck!!Thompsma (talk) 21:25, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Evolution and evolutionary biology are clearly not one and the same, even if there has been any kind of precedent for supposed synonymy. Evolution is the biological process and evolutionary biology is the study of it. Evolutionary Biology does not drive adaptation and speciation. The use of the redirect from Evolutionary Biology to Evolution is therefore a mistake. current research in evolutionary biology and history of evolutionary thought contain some distinctive discussion of past and current thinking about evolution (the process) that deserves a separate place. However, history of evolutionary thought reiterates much material on evolution-the-process that is already stated in evolution and that should be ruthlessly edited out of history of evolutionary thought. In my view, the distinctive material in Evolutionary Biology, Current Research in Evolutionary Biology and History of Evolutionary Thought should be merged into redrafted Evolutionary Biology. If the consensus is to do this I will happily participate.Plantsurfer (talk) 08:45, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
[Non-hair-splitters can skip this part.] This is really a ridiculous, hair-splitting argument, and as I said elsewhere I find it hard to comprehend that anyone would make it in good faith. It is totally normal for two books that cover the same ground, sometimes virtually the same book, to have titles that literally mean different things. In addition to standard tasks when preparing a new edition ("while the rapid pace of change in the field required that new topics such as evolutionary genomics be introduced and that almost all topics be updated"), Futuyma also got rid of stuff that he was no longer happy with ("Some topics had to be deleted and many others shortened"). While it is normally advisable to preserve the title of a successful book, some changes such as adding new chapters anywhere other than at the end, rewriting things substantially and especially removing stuff tend to cause confusion. ("Just look it up in Futuyma's book" -- "I can't find it" -- "It's on page 149" -- "No it isn't" -- "Maybe your copy is too old" -- "I have the fourth edition, but now I have been in the library and it's not in the fifth edition either" -- "Hmm, I have the third edition".) So they usually require a change of title. For example, if the book was first called "Biology", you might then decide to call it "Life".
We don't require reliable sources for things that are clear to every half-competent speaker of the English language. See WP:BLUE: "Sometimes editors will insist on citations for material simply because they dislike it or prefer some other material, not because the material in any way needs verification. For example, an editor may demand a citation for the fact that most people have five digits on each hand (yes, this really happened)." The difference between the primary (biological) meaning of evolution ("The change in the genetic composition of a population over successive generations") and the primary meaning of evolutionary biology ("A sub-field of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species and as their evolution, multiplication and diversity over time") is one such thing that simply doesn't require such a proof because it's just too unreasonable to disagree with it.
But to humour you, I have used my Credo account to look the words up in the Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution:
Change over time. In biology, the process in which organisms are descended with modification from previous organisms; see biological evolution.
biological evolution
  1. Change in a lineage of an organism through time (é. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1831); transformism.
  2. Descent with modification (Darwinism, 1859).
  3. The transformation of the form and mode of existence of an organism in such a way that descendants differ from their predecessors.
  4. Change in a population's allele frequencies between generations (this also called the operational definition of neo-Darwinism).
evolutionary biology
Collective discipline of biology and ecology that studies the evolutionary process and the characteristics of populations of organisms, as well as their behavior and systematics. When the organism is Homo sapiens, cultural processes are also involved, and the collective term becomes human evolutionary biology.
Is the "collective discipline of biology and ecology that studies" etc. a "change over time"? Is it a "process in which organisms are descended with modification from previous organisms"? It clearly isn't any of these things any more than forestry is a forest or tree biology is a tree.
"Chemistry is a discipline as evolution is a discipline. There are molecules and chemicals in chemistry in the way that there are genes and organisms in evolution." Correct in other contexts, but not sufficiently correct for the nuances that you are trying to read into it. The word chemistry came first, and developed out of the word alchemy, a word of unclear origin. It described a scientific field long before it even became scientific. It has developed secondary meanings similar to the primary meaning of evolution (as in: "the chemistry of the cell is complicated"), and if there is any need to distinguish, one must clarify these secondary meanings (as in: "the chemical processes in the cell are complicated"). In the case of evolution, the abstract concept came first and became the seed for an academic discipline sometimes named after it as a metonymy.
"Biology is the study of life in the same way that evolution is the study of life in relation to its history and heritable change." Same problem. In this sentence you have again replaced evolutionary biology by biology as a metonymy for it.
"When you visit the biology pages it also describes the science in a section titled research." Wikipedia is of course not a reliable source and many articles are incomplete or even misleading. But let's ignore that problem and look a bit closer. The biology article consists of the following main sections: History, Foundations of modern biology, Research, Branches of biology. It is clear from this that the main content of the article is spread over the two core sections Foundations of modern biology (discussing the stuff one needs to understand first) and Research (giving a quick overview over the more advanced stuff that is still being researched). Under Branches of biology we find many subdisciplines including, tata!, evolutionary biology. Not "evolution". And it has been like that since this edit in December 2009 by User:Narayanese, who was cleaning up the article shortly before the January 2010 GA nomination and changed it from the clumsy and misleading "evolution or evolutionary biology" pipelinked to evolution. That original wording came from serial copyright violator User:Dico Calingal, who introduced the entire section and weirdly called it "All Branches of Biology" [3]. The source for this inaccuracy was this, a post on "BellaOnline, The Voice of Women". [End of part for hair-splitters]
That evolution and evolutionary biology are two different concepts doesn't mean that we have to treat them in different articles. That's still an editorial decision. But I just can't see how the editorial decision of getting rid of the evolutionary biology article (it was not merged into evolution, instead all the content was simply lost) makes sense, given that it leaves a glaring hole in Biology#Branches of biology, where linking to the evolution article doesn't really make sense if the article doesn't cover the field but only its object of study. Hans Adler 09:33, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it's illogical and confusing for readers to have an article named "Current Research in X" without having an article named "X". This sort of articles usually appear as spinoffs of "X" because "X" has become too large. They are not intended to replace "X", since they only cover part of the information available for topic X. --Enric Naval (talk) 18:21, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

There is no strict policy reason to merge or to split in this case. The two subjects are not identical but are highly over-lapping. So it becomes a question of things like space and whether there is enough notable material which covers what is not in the over-lap. If the end result is two articles that are virtually identical in what they cover, then this makes the case for merging stronger. Concerning the case for keeping the split, it has been pointed out that one factor worth considering is that Evolution is already extremely long, and requiring constant oversight with respect to keeping details out of it.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Thanks Kim, the draft is a nice cleanup. I think the listed "topics in evolutionary biology" need to be folded into the text of "current research", rather than given a separate text. I don't think textbooks should be listed: they belong more with evolution than evolutionary biology, although listing the monographs etc. seems appropriate. A list of societies and journals would be a good addition to the page. Joannamasel (talk) 16:46, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. Feel free to contribute at my page. I want to rewrite the description section as to be far clearer about how evolutionary biology intersects with other subfields at different organizational levels. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 17:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Wow. I was going to help, but I see the draft is already past the stage where I can be useful. Hans Adler 17:46, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
The draft looks like a good starting point, and by focusing on the history of the academic discipline you can cover material distinct from either evolution or history of evolutionary thought. Rusty Cashman (talk) 20:13, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted we have a category with hundreds of members of evolutionary biologists in the field of evolutionary biology and that in common usage the university of Michigan separates it's biology departments with one as Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Also, the 7 majors of studies at UoM are:
  • Biology
  • Cellular & Molecular Biology
  • Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
  • General Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Plant Biology
where evolutionary is separate field of study. If this word usage holds to be common across most major Universities then of obviously we need a stand-alone article on Evolutionary Biology and it's major contributors. Alatari (talk) 22:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Famous evolutionary biologists section[edit]

Hi. Now that it looks like the large majority is in favor of restoring the article, I would like to start thinking about some content aspects. I think a section about some of the better known evolutionary biologists would be nice. Who do we need to include. I am thinking Theodosius Dobzhansky, John Maynard Smith, Stephen Jay Gould, Ernst Mayr to start with. Who else? -- Kim van der Linde at venus 05:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm from the math and physics side but I've encountered (and remembered) H. Allen Orr's work in Nature on Drosophila flies and he's been awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal. He is an opponent of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins (oh yeah, maybe Dawkins too... :p) on some issues. Also there was Robert Wiedersheim who did work on human vestigial organs. You saw the list of over two hundred Wikipedia has articles dedicated to posted above? Alatari (talk) 06:01, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I suspect that trying to assess who is more important will simply open a can of worms. Much of it is already dealt with in History of evolutionary thought, and the question arises as to whether and why a second treatment is needed, especially since this is not an easy task. If it really is necessary, one needs to start with Darwin, not so much On the Origin of Species, but his work on orchids, earthworms etc. Then one gets Galton and Waldon and Pearson and Bates. Then you have Fisher, Haldane and Wright. Then you have Dobzhansky and Ford going more experimental. Also the rest of the major players in the synthesis, including Simpson (a more important paleontologist than Gould), Mayr, Stebbins etc. Then we get into the molecular era, with Kimura standing out, and other options like Zuckerkandl. Taking it much further (i.e. into the age where most candidates are still alive) without completely disintegrating into controversy as to importance is probably even tougher, although Hamilton stands out. But as I said, I am skeptical for the need for this section, over and above what the history page already does. Joannamasel (talk) 16:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I would add Zahavi too, the handicap principle is really important in resurrecting sexual selection theory from its post-Darwin neglect.Joannamasel (talk) 16:28, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Joanna, I totally agree with you. But I think I have to clarify what my idea here is. There are many who have contributed to the concept of evolution and the understanding of that concept. Those individuals need to be discussed elsewhere. What I am more interested in is individuals who's actual influence is on the field as a discipline. Maybe in a different way to say it, those individuals who helped shape how we study evolutionary processes (and not what we study). I suspect that this will lead us more towards a rather different group of people. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 16:44, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, now I understand. But I suspect this distinction, which I missed, will be very, very hard to police. A good source on discipline-building is Michael Ruse's "Monad to Man", who sees discipline building as in some ways the central achievement of the modern synthesis. Fisher, Wright and Haldane laid the foundation of the discipline, but were not good discipline builders. Most important in discipline-building were probably Dobzhansky and Ford. Then in the second most important category I (based on reading Ruse) would put Mayr, Simpson and Stebbins. Of course, discipline building continued after the synthesis, but I don't have good sources for it. The Academic Genealogy Tree at might be useful, but is still too incomplete to make reliable comparisons, and mining it for critical hubs would probably count as OR anyway, although it is useful to validate that a particular individual really did supervise many later prominent scientists. James Crow, Dick Lewontin, Dan Hartl and Marc Feldman would surely feature on any list. Joannamasel (talk) 17:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Browsed the lineages some more: add Brian Charlesworth to that list. Joannamasel (talk) 18:10, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, this is what I was meaning. I think starting with the Michal Ruse source is a good start. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 18:12, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I think a paragraph borrowed from History of evolutionary thought used in the article would provide a useful linkage and delineate and distinguish this article from that article. Future editors maybe try to merge this article into History of evolutionary thought because they are not clear on how the two articles are to be contrasted. Alatari (talk) 10:04, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Which paragraph are you talking about? And yes, othyers might feel it is overlapping with the concept, that is why it needs more shaping towards the discipline. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 15:05, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
What you have done looks fine. Alatari (talk) 15:41, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I also think we should mention how many major Universities have separate departments dedicated to this discipline or in combination with Ecology. Alatari (talk) 10:04, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 15:05, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Another question. I was thinking that we might have to mention Dawkins here, and especially the role he played in popularizing much of evolutionary biology towards the general public. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 15:05, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes and that's where the edit wars come in from theists for his non-discipline based work *sigh*. Is there a quantitative measure of how much his books dedicated to just evolution have raised public awareness? Alatari (talk) 15:41, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
That is just how WP) works. Anyway, I would say that his "The Selfish Gene" was hugely influential towards the wider public. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 16:03, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

It is of course only with hindsight and in the light of the book's career that the presence of the document in the file can strike the reader as curious. Since publication in 1976, Dawkins's gene-eye view of evolution arguing that organisms are nothing else than survival machines for selfish genes, has sold over a million copies.3 The first hardback edition was followed by a paperback edition two years later, by a second revised and enlarged edition in 1989 and a 30th anniversary edition in 2006. It has been translated into over 20 languages and its title has become a set phrase in the English language.

It's influential but not to the level of Einstein or Kuhn. Measuring WP:N debates make my empirical sensibilities scream in pain. Going to bed. Alatari (talk) 16:34, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, we are talking about Evolutionary Biology, so I do not expect the front runner to be able to measure up to Einstein or Kuhn....-- Kim van der Linde at venus 16:50, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I oppose mentioning Dawkins. He has advanced the public understanding of evolution. This has nothing to do with evolutionary biology as a professional scientific discipline. The public understanding of the latter lags behind the former. BTW, this does not always have to be the case, eg in some parts of physics the public understanding is reversed. Joannamasel (talk) 17:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Fair enough. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 19:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Here is a possible list suggesting evolutionary biologists that come to my mind that have received fame or notoriety for one reason or another, beyond those listed above: Ernst Haeckel, Hugo de Vries, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, Conrad Hal Waddington, Motoo Kimura, Leigh Van Valen, E. O. Wilson, Lynn Margulis, John Avise, Masatoshi Nei, V. C. Wynne-Edwards, Carl Woese and John R. Horner. Some of these are not as "famous" as others, but has contributed something of fame. Carl Woese, for example, "is famous for defining the Archaea (a new domain or kingdom of life) in 1977". John R. Horner might be classed as one of the most famous paleontologists in the US - which is close to evolutionary fame. Leigh Van Valen might not be a household name, but the red-queen hypothesis is quite notable. John Avise - founder of phylogeography puts him on the map.Thompsma (talk) 21:55, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Which of these would you say have been notable discipline builders (contrary to who contributed only a lot to the understanding of the concept)? -- Kim van der Linde at venus 23:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Personally, glad Lynn Margulis is fucking dead. What a waste of real intelligence. As for being a notorious evolutionary biologist, sure, why not. But is this article a list of evolutionary biologists? It shouldn't be. But if it is, there is no more famous evolutionary biologist today than Dawkins. You say evolution, anyone would say Dawkins (right after Darwin).OrangeMarlin Talk• Contributions 22:47, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
You are right, this is not a list of evolutionary biologists, we only want to mention those who contributed very substantially to the development of the discipline.-- Kim van der Linde at venus 23:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
This appears to be degenerating into subjectivity. To quote directly from WP:Verifiability "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true." Just saying!! One citeable benchmark for verifiably determining notability and relative influence, that is widely used in the scientific community, is the number of citations of their work in the Science Citations index. However, my personal preference would be not to have name-lists of this kind in the article. Nice collector's items for the trainspotter/nerds among us ;), but in the end what do they contribute to the article? If a person's contribution to Evolutionary Biology has been notable then the contribution deserves to be summarised, however briefly, in the text and cited in the normal way. Not just as an entry in a list.Plantsurfer (talk) 23:24, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Hi Kim...this is in response to your question. Perhaps there should be some kind of threshold? Leigh van Valen, for example, is not a household name and is best known for the Red Queen hypothesis. However, Valen also started the journal Evolutionary Theory [4] - so this I think qualifies for fame in two respects, 1) established a critical theory in evolution, 2) was a substantial contributor by launching that journal. It was cheap and there were a few landmark papers published in there. John Avise is another example of an evolutionary biologist who is not a household name, but he has received quite a few awards and published lots of books on evolution [5] in the popular press. You could argue that he has contributed substantially to the discipline through his establishment of phylogeography, considered by some as a discipline in its own right. There are other's that came to mind - Willi Hennig is a big one that I forgot to mention. Léon Croizat is another - founding panbiogeography and the developing the philosophy of vicariance biogeography. Lynn Margulis I put in the list for symbiogenesis and the endosymbiotic theory. While she didn't come up with the idea (like Darwin did not come up with natural selection), she championed the idea. Paul Sereno (super nice guy!!) is "famous" for his television appearances working in paleontology and has made some significant publication contributions with high impact factor - but I doubt he would qualify, yet he certainly has fame and notoriety. So, I really don't know what criteria you are after. I would suggest the following factors be considered: 1) establishing new theory, 2) established a new discipline, 3) major discovery, 4) lifetime achievement, 5) notable awards, 6) fame. Further guidelines on those sorts of things could help to narrow down the list. Otherwise, I agree with Plantsurfer - you will run into problems with subjectivity here.Thompsma (talk) 00:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Lets see. I am not going to discuss your individual nominations at this time, but focus at your criteria:
  1. establishing new theory
    This definately might be a good criterion for someone who contributed to the concept of evolution, but it is irrelevant to discipline building. That is why Darwin is not mentioned. Great theory, but the discipline only was really established a few decades later.
  2. established a new discipline
    This I can see as an important criterion, with the caveat that it should be a substantial subfield of evolutionary biology.
  3. major discovery
    See 1
  4. lifetime achievement
    See 1
  5. notable awards
    See 1
  6. fame
    See 1
Most of your criteria are not about contributions to the discipline, but contributions to the concept (which makes sense knowing your conflation of the two). Contributions to the discipline are aspects like how many people they have trained. Did they establish major research organizations focused on evolutionary biological studies with a substantial amount of money? Did they establish important new research paradigms (not concept) that are nowadays used a lot? Establishment of a research journal is a venue to publish research and that is more concept based. Lets see if we can get criteria together for discipline building contributions and seperate those from concept contributions. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 00:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
"Contributions to the discipline are aspects like how many people they have trained." - like a mentorship? Like in the way that George C. Williams was Richard Dawkins' professor, or Leigh van Valen & Richard Lewontin's PhD professor was Theodosius Dobzhansky? They did other graduate work, van Valen with George Gaylord Simpson and John Maynard Smith, for example.[6] Are you talking about schools of evolutionary thought - in the way that there has been schools of thought in human ecology, such as the sociology department at the University of Chicago? A legacy of human ecologists grew out of that institution. I am trying to understand and hope I can help. "That is why Darwin is not mentioned. Great theory, but the discipline only was really established a few decades later." - I have a really hard time accepting this, but okay - others must be seeing something I am not. I would accept that there was a paradigm shift from Darwinism and if this is what built the discipline, okay. How can you measure contributions? Are you talking financial contributions? Conceptual contributions? Award winning contributions? Theoretical contributions? Thomas Hunt Morgan started the legacy of fruit fly experiments, which certainly had a large impact in the way that genetics research took off in labs around the world.[7] However, theory also has had this effect: "Allan Larson, a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis, called “A New Evolutionary Law,” Dr. Van Valen’s paper on the subject, “one of the most influential and controversial works published in evolutionary biology.”[8] I would venture that the Red Queen theory, like any other theory, generated contributions to the discipline. Schools were funded and contributions were made to researchers finding success in the influential parts to the theory. Such is the economy or market of thought and scientific understanding.Thompsma (talk) 04:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Evolutionary biology journals[edit]

How about a section listing major journals in evolutionary biology? It could be just a list, or it could group them into categories and/or give a little information about each. Titles that spring to mind for me as the major quality trade journals really focused on evolution are Evolution (journal), Journal of Evolutionary Biology and BMC Evolutionary Biology. Some journals cover specializations within evolutionary biology, such as Molecular Biology and Evolution and its sister journal Genome Biology and Evolution. There are of course many more journals with lots of evolution but other topics as well. The American Naturalist and Theoretical Population Biology have overlap with ecology. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B overlaps primarily with organismal biology more broadly. Genetics and PLoS Genetics overlap with molecular genetics questions that are not obviously evolutionary in nature. Joannamasel (talk) 03:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I am curious to know why the Journal of Evolutionary Biology is not publishing articles that deal with the topic of this article? If I go to the "Journal of the Philosophy of Science" or the "Journal of Citation Reports"[9], I find papers that "Encompasses the philosophical, especially methodological, ontological, epistemological, anthropological, and ethical foundations of the individual sciences", for example. Is this what is meant behind the discipline aspect behind Evolutionary Biology? As stated in the lead to this article: "Evolutionary biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the study of evolutionary processes that have given rise to the diversity of life on earth." So it is a "field" - I'm assuming "discipline" is an appropriately related term. What journal publishes on the field of Evolutionary Biology in the way that the Journal of Citation Reports "summarizes citations from more than 10,000 journals and proceedings in the sciences and social sciences indexed in the Web of Science database." The Journal of Evolutionary Biology certainly does not publish on articles pertaining to a discipline, such as schools of evolutionary thought. It publishes on the same kind of material you find in the journal Evolution.Thompsma (talk) 05:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The point of listing these journals is not because they publish articles analyzing the professional science of evolutionary biology. The point is that they ARE part of the infrastructure of evolutionary biology as a professional science. The journal is not the source here, but the subject of what is mentioned.
Conducting a professional science requires salaries and other resources, which in turn requires university departments and the equivalent, and funding sources such as the NSF and NIH in the US. A professional science also requires outlets to publish (hence the proposed journal listing), professional societies, scientific meetings etc. Describing this infrastructure falls within the scope of this page, which is part of why this page is substantially different from evolution. Joannamasel (talk) 15:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
In understand this Joannamasel - I hold scientific research grants myself. The point is that a journal titled Journal of Evolutionary Biology is not publishing on the sorts of things that this article claims to be about. I'm genuinely interested in the topic - I have never heard of it before, always understood evolutionary biology to be evolution. If I wanted to learn about Evolutionary Biology in the sense reported in this article, where would I find a book, journal publication or article that discusses this? Is there a journal or some other resource that discusses capacity building in science when I do a google search under the heading of Evolutionary Biology?? Kim, for example, posted the following: "That is why Darwin is not mentioned. Great theory, but the discipline only was really established a few decades later." I had never read about this before and find no mention of this in my books on the evolutionary synthesis or evolutionary biology. So, we have the modern evolutionary synthesis where I can find books and journals on the topic, we have history of evolutionary thought, where I can find books and journals on the topic (including contemporary history), and we have evolutionary biology, where I can find books and journals that are not about the topic described in this article but have articles that present the kind of material I find in the evolution article. I'm genuinely interested and would like to seek out the resource materials that can help to enlighten me on this topic. In a book titled "Evolutionary biology" edited by Dobzhansky[10], for example, I find articles on the evolution of Gryphaea in relation to allometry --> the kind of topic you would find described in the main Evolution article. In my copy of Elliot Sober's book "Conceptual Issues in Evolutionary Biology" [11] - I don't find articles on grants, which seems like the sort of conceptual things you are describing. I find articles on fitness, natural selection, and the sort of material you find in the main evolution article. I'm trying, but I am having a difficult time finding the resource material that would help me to understand the distinction beyond the opinions I've seen expressed herein. I would like to learn more about this.Thompsma (talk) 16:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Very few colleges offer a bachelor's degree specifically in evolutionary biology. Most programs combine ecology and evolutionary biology. These take four years of full-time study beyond high school. This training can prepare you for an entry-level position in environmental consulting, government agencies, or as a research assistant. - from a Google search of "Evolutionary Biology field" There are more links. --Alatari (talk) 16:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Thompsa, I suggest you read Michael Ruse's "Monad to Man", much of that book concerns the transition of discussions of evolution from pseudoscience to popular science to professional science. The book covers "evolutionary biology" in the sense discussed on this page. Alatari, the fact that evolutionary biology training is largely coupled to ecology rather than other fields such as molecular biology is definitely notable and worth mentioning on the page. Joannamasel (talk) 16:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
What section? Should we start an Academic Studies Discipline section? That was just an example from this search --Alatari (talk) 17:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Alatari - still does not answer any of my questions. It refers to evolutionary biology as the study of patterns and processes of evolution. I understand that there are researchers studying evolution and there is the process of evolution in nature. "Students learn genetics and functional patterns. They study the form and structure of organisms for evidence of their origin." Sounds like the kinds of topics you would find in the evolution article, still can't locate information on the study of the discipline - such as a degree that would tell you about the grants, history, and capacity building. I might find articles of that sort in the Journal on the History of Biology. This article [12] (I rarely refer to Talk Origins, but I'll make an exception here) - a top google hit from "Evolutionary Biology field" the title of the article is: "Introduction to Evolutionary Biology" - the first sentence: "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology." Everything in that article is exactly the kind of material I find in the main evolution article. Still, I am wanting to learn more. I'll keep searching, but despite working in paleontology labs and working professionally in the field for over ten years I have never heard of this, so I'm keenly interested. Hoping that my search will turn up something to help me understand. Joanna - I have read Michael Ruse's "Monad to Man" - it was a great read. I've read lots of Michael Ruse's work - it was assigned reading in some of my evolutionary philosophy coursework. Based on Ruse's book, however, and the kind of capacity building you are talking about - I might title this "Evolutionary biology the profession". I'm still confused, still looking for a paper that discusses evolutionary biology in the terms described herein with a genuine and keen interest. Thanks.Thompsma (talk) 17:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The search looks like this:
Evolutionary biology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia biology is a sub-field of biology concerned with the study of evolutionary processes that have given rise to the diversity of life on earth. It includes ...
Evolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia in evolutionary biology have made a significant impact not just within .... At the turn of the 20th century, pioneers in the field of population genetics, ...
Introduction to Evolutionary Biology 7, 1996 – The impression of it being a soft science is reinforced when biologists in unrelated fields speculate publicly about evolution. This is a brief ...
Field Biology Quarter -- Department of Ecology and Evolutionary ... Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology -- Field Biology Quarter. UCLA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Field Biology Quarter ...
The Graduate Field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology study in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Cornell Biology :: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (E&EB) concentration is not confined to the classroom and lab. In “Field Ecology,” for example, students spend ...
Field of Study: Evolutionary Biology Evolutionary biology is the study of patterns and processes of evolution. Students learn genetics and functional patterns. They study the form and ...
Evolutionary Biology Field of Study - part of the Bachelor of Science ... · Bachelor of Science(Honours); Evolutionary Biology Field of Study ... For further information on this plan contact the School of Integrative Biology, ...
Evolutionary Biology Option - Biology Major 14, 2011 – Prepare for graduate study in evolutionary biology or related fields; Prepare for professional studies (e.g. medical school, veterinary school, ...
Human Evolutionary Biology Handbook for Students 2011-2012 Evolutionary Biology (HEB) addresses why humans and other primates are ... One Freshman Seminar may be counted for the secondary field in HEB. ...
I've gone through 8 pages now of searcch engine and almost all of them are related to careers, study programs and departments of Evolutionary Biology. Here is a link to a rankings of the top 94 degree programs in Evolutionary Biology. There are links to discussions of salaries in the field and the economic downturn. So this is a field of studies and a profession and it is a separate concept from Evolution proper. If the common usage for a biologist who works on evolution was an Evolutionist then it would be a different matter. Or if the common usage across the world for the studies program was Evolution studies but the usage has tagged Biology to the end. Wikipedia reports on common word usage from WP:N - "Significant coverage" means that sources address the subject directly in detail, so no original research is needed to extract the content. Significant coverage is more than a trivial mention but it need not be the main topic of the source material.. --Alatari (talk) 18:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I can do the same thing for evolution. For example:
  1. "Welcome to the home page of the Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University. Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology (EEOB) encompasses the study of animals, plants, and microbes in their relationships among themselves and their environments, and in their common ancestry."[13]
  2. "The Department of Evolution and Ecology (EVE) is a multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative community of faculty, students, post-doctoral researchers and staff who are dedicated to understanding the evolution and ecology of populations, species and communities."[14]
  3. "The Department of Ecology & Evolution hosts diverse faculty and student interests in the ecological and evolutionary processes that underlie patterns of life on earth."[15]
  4. "Students in the program may graduate with a Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology and Behavior, or in Plant Sciences, and may also earn a Certificate in Animal Behavior."[16]
Where is evolutionary biology for Ohio State University? It is just evolution - perhaps they didn't get the memo? However, I wouldn't put too much heed into the websites. I've written the blurbs and done the HTML for biology departments at several Canadian universities. I've been involved in discussions and meetings about the naming of departments and still this whole idea is new to me. There is a mix-mash of departmental websites all describing the same thing under the banner of either evolution or evolutionary biology. I am still waiting to see a journal or a book titled "Evolutionary Biology" that specifically discusses aspects "related to careers, study programs and departments." The aim of the Journal of Evolutionary Biology is "to integrate perspectives across molecular and microbial evolution, behaviour, genetics, ecology, life histories, development, palaeontology, systematics and morphology."[17] It does not state that the discipline of evolutionary biology is about capacity building in the science of evolution. In this journal we accept papers that describes advancement in the field of evolutionary biology, such as grants, institutions, courses, and salaries of evolutionary biologists - nothing of the sort is found, the articles parallel those in Evolution, the sister journal. Someone should notify the journal that they are mistaken in their idea of what evolutionary biology should encompass, because apparently on Wikipedia we have found a glaring error in their stated mission. I have reviewed articles for that journal - so I feel competent enough to know what the field is about. I'm not convinced that this anything other than a myth and have yet to see a wp:v source that would lead me to believe otherwise. All I've seen is a single dictionary reference "Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution" that seems to indicate that evolutionary biology is the collective discipline, whereas evolution is the biological process. That hardly qualifies for an entire new article? I'm entering into this with an open mind, but I have yet to see anything under the heading of Evolutionary biology that describes Evolutionary Biology the profession. I have textbooks titled "Evolutionary Biology" and the content is about evolution. I want to see the evidence.Thompsma (talk) 19:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
There is also the Society for the Study of Evolution[18] with a forwarding message from Ernst Mayr. He writes about evolution, not evolutionary biology. The topics covered are pretty much the same kinds of things you have indicated in your list. Article 1 of the constitution[19] states: "The object of the Society shall be the promotion of the study of organic evolution and the integration of various fields of science concerned with evolution." Where is evolutionary biology?Thompsma (talk) 19:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Beside the entry from a WP:N dictionary that you found there are job search resources looking for professors, readers, and assistants in Evolutionary Biology. There are also jobs in the fields of Evolutionary Ecology, Evolutionary Bioinfomatics, Evolutionary Genomics, Evolutionary developmental biology, Evolutionary robotics, Evolutionary psychology, Evolutionary computation (worked on a my masters in this field), etc. Evolutionary biology as a field is to delineate the biology field based around evolution from the computational, psychology, robotics and what ever other field that Evolution concepts finds itself moving into. --Alatari (talk) 20:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
All OR - still no evidence to prove to the contrary. For every source you find, I find the same kind of information related to evolution. Is the Society for the Study of Evolution mistaken in its view that it should really be the Society for the Study of Evolutionary Biology? Its constitution states: "shall be the promotion of the study of organic evolution" - which is exactly what people in here are imagining evolutionary biology to be. This is nothing but a myth that evolutionary biology is different and it cannot be backed up by wp:v sources. I still have yet to see a single publication - beyond a single dictionary reference - that makes this distinction. What this article is turning into is an article on Evolution the Discipline or Contemporary History of Evolutionary Biology. A separate article on evolutionary biology that is distinct from the main evolution will confuse people, because this is an imagined distinction that is not widely used in the professional literature on this topic.Thompsma (talk) 20:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The Nature job search also produces the same kind of jobs using a search with the heading evolution - some of the positions are titled evolutionary biology others of the same kind are just titled evolution. "(worked on a my masters in this field)" - interesting!! My masters field was in phylogeography.Thompsma (talk) 20:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Not all evolution studies is biological. Not all biology has anything to do with evolution studies. You stated it clearly with the quote "shall be the promotion of the study of organic evolution". Even they made the distinction. Not one professor, assistant or reader of evolution found at nature jobs. All 'Evolutionary xxx'. The consensus here is to build this article independent of Evolution. --Alatari (talk) 21:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Citations based list[edit]

Here is the list of Evolutionary Biology journal ranked from high to low with regard to 5-year impact factor (Thomson-Reuters).




SYST BIOL 11.159


MOL ECOL 6.633




AM NAT 5.385





J HUM EVOL 4.291





EVOL DEV 3.292



TAXON 2.964




J MOL EVOL 2.564






SYST BOT 1.917











Which of these are indeed primary evolutionary biology journals and which are not.-- Kim van der Linde at venus 20:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

They are all evolutionary journals, not one of them contains articles on the development of evolutionary biology as a discipline. I sincerely would like to see an article on this topic, because I am curious to learn about it.Thompsma (talk) 20:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, they are all evolutionary biology journals, hence proof of a discipline that stands on its own. For sources about the development of a discipline, Ruse's book is probably the best source. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 21:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
These look like they somehow ended up out of order. If we want a straight list, I agree that using impact factors as an order makes sense. If we want a narrative, I think they should be grouped conceptually instead. Do we want a list or a narrative? My preference is for a narrative as far as possible. Joannamasel (talk) 20:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
My bad, left the wrong column. Here is the whole list, with proper values. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 21:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
And yes, I think we have to develop some narative as you suggest, it was more as an helper for writing that. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 21:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Are you sure about those numbers? Evolutionary Bioinformatics looks WAY too high. Leaving that one out for now as I insert into article. Joannamasel (talk) 21:23, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
This was a useful discussion - pity it didn't turn into a table in the article. But for a table I wonder if the list from Figure 3 of [20] would be better (though it's not current, neither are many of the papers people will be looking up...). Wnt (talk) 17:54, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Evolution vs evolutionary biology[edit]

Okay, we have now multiple treats going on where the main topic is not the discussion about the content, but the distinction between evolution as a concept and theory versus the discipline/field of Evolutionary Biology. Could we please limit this distinction discussion to here? What belongs to either category:

  • The concept of Evolution
    • Mechanisms
    • Theoretical concepts about how evolution works
    • Empirical data about specific case studies
    • Individuals who made substantial contributions to our understanding of how evolution works.
    • Integration of data and ideas.
  • The discipline of Evolutionary Biology
    • Individuals who made substantial contributions to the establishment of the field as a research topic. This is NOT the same as contributing to the concept of evolution, which is a prerequisite for a discipline to arrise, but not part of the discipline building itself.
    • Funding
    • Journals to disseminate results
    • Research programs
    • Development of techniques without which the research cannot be done.

Hope this is a good start. -- Kim van der Linde at venus 20:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

The template links to fields and methods in part maybe it would be better if it defaults to show these items as they are currently hidden and I didn't notice them till today. Some maybe need adding: Alatari (talk) 20:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The discipline of Evolutionary biology looks right - that should be the title. You might be hard pressed to make a distinction between evolutionary biology and contemporary history, but it would be easier to accept that kind of title where Evolutionary Biology otherwise refers to the kind of content that we see in the main article evolution in textbooks, professional societies, and journals.Thompsma (talk) 20:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Thompsa, (moving my reply down to this thread as requested), "evolutionary biology" and "the study of evolution" are synonyms. "The study of evolution" is not identical to "evolution". The fact that not every source consistently makes the distinction is not evidence that we should not make the distinction on WP. Plenty of sources already cited do differentiate. Joannamasel (talk) 20:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
So why would Kim Linde find it necessary to elaborate on the title above - "The discipline of Evolutionary Biology"? The terms "Evolutionary Biology" do not immediately bring to mind "The discipline of Evolutionary Biology", nor is this distinction made in the literature at large. I've conducted a survey since this debate and 100% of the respondents - including graduate students and undergraduate students of biology gave a definition for evolution when I asked them to tell me what evolutionary biology is. None of them said - oh evolutionary biology, yes, that's the discipline of evolutionary biology where different professors study different aspects to the other thing called evolution. If this article was retitled "The discipline of Evolutionary Biology", then I would understand where this is going - that makes sense. "Evolutionary biology" as distinct form "Evolution" is confusing as heck and it is a myth being generated by a few professors who seem to be making the distinction on authority without independent wp:v resources to back-up their claims.Thompsma (talk) 19:07, 17 August 2012 (UTC)