Demons in Eden: the paradox of plant diversity

Silvertown, Jonathan (2005). Demons in Eden: the paradox of plant diversity. Chicago, USA: Chicago University Press.



There is a paradox at the heart of the theory of evolution.
Natural selection favours above all the particular individual that leaves the most offspring – a super-organism that might be called the Darwinian Demon. If it existed, this theoretical ogre would populate the world with only its own kind and would extinguish all diversity.
Why, then, has evolution manifestly filled the world with diversity and not demons? What keeps Darwinian demons in check? Can they be let loose by human actions, or even be created by genetic manipulation? What is the future of biodiversity in a world now so dominated by one species – our own? Demons in Eden is a work of popular science which explores these questions using the latest scientific theories and discoveries of evolutionary biology and ecology applied to plants.

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