Richard Gomulkiewicz
Richard Gomulkiewicz

“We thought we understood how things happened, but maybe they happened for another reason,” says Emily Jones, a Rice University researcher in evolutionary ecology who started pondering Darwin’s conundrum while a post-doctoral researcher in the Washington State University lab of Richard Gomulkiewicz. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jones and colleagues Gomulkiewicz and Scott Nuismer of the University of Idaho say the relatedness of new and established species is not as important as the details of how they go about doing their business..

“Darwin put out a lot of interesting ideas back in the day but he didn’t have the means to check them with rigor,” says Gomulkiewicz, a professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences. “That’s what we did with our mathematical model, and we found that Darwin’s logic on this issue doesn’t quite pan out.”

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