He graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D in 1979.
His evolutionary developmental biology book approaches the subject of the evolution of metazoan development from a cell lineage selection point of view. He reevaluates August Weismann's model of the cell compartmentalization of somatic and germline cell lineages (see Weismann barrier), and argues that the vision of the individual taken by the modern synthesis is insufficient to explain the early evolution of development or ontogeny.
- The Evolution of Individuality, Princeton University Press, 1987, ISBN 978-0-691-08468-8
- "Beyond Digital Naturalism", Artificial life: an overview, Editor Christopher G. Langton, MIT Press, 1997, ISBN 978-0-262-62112-0
- "What would be conserved "If the tape were played twice?"", Complexity: metaphors, models, and reality, Editors George A. Cowan, David Pines, David Elliott Meltzer, Westview Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-7382-0232-7
- "Growth by Intussusception in Hyrdactiniid Hydroids", Evolutionary patterns: growth, form, and tempo in the fossil record in honor of Allan Cheetham, Editors Alan H. Cheetham, Jeremy B. C. Jackson, Scott Lidgard, Frank Kenneth McKinney, University of Chicago Press, 2001, ISBN 978-0-226-38931-8
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- "Leo W. Buss", Scientific Commons
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