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Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins$
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Charles R., Jr. Ault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704673.001.0001

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Coral Pigs and Tide Pool Sheep

Coral Pigs and Tide Pool Sheep

Novel Selections of Behavior and Anatomy

(p.172) 12 Coral Pigs and Tide Pool Sheep
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

Charles R. Ault

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines novel selections of behavior and anatomy by focusing on coral pigs and tide pool sheep. Bill Peet's Chester the Worldly Pig contains elements of evolutionary drama. It tells of an already useful trait pre-adapted to a novel behavior. Snouts sniff, and pig snouts sniff with superb sensitivity. The second and third elements are balancing—along with climbing—and a display attractive to others. This chapter first considers Charles Darwin's theory to explain how the elephant's ancestors may have varied from one another before discussing his argument that flexible behavior opened the door to new adaptations. It also explores the metaphorical origin of natural selection and the role of sexual selection in speciation; criticisms of Darwin's concepts of incipient traits, incipient species, and the power of natural selection to manufacture novelty; and Darwin's counterpoint to his critics.

Keywords:   behavior, anatomy, coral pigs, sheep, evolution, Charles Darwin, flexible behavior, adaptations, natural selection, sexual selection

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