"Dino" Frey: Movement and Form

Can turtles fly? They don't do that, of course, because they have adapted to a specific lifestyle. Other organisms - and quite different organisms - have conquered the air, although they are not related. The possibility of moving through the air brought advantages, and according to Darwinian Theory living organisms make use of these advantages (survival of the fittest does not mean that the strongest will survive, to fit means actually to make someone fitting into a gap). Turtles can actually generate a lot of different movements, but they cannot fly, because their rigid armorage prevents them from conducting the corresponding movements. In the moment that this armorage was present, this also restricted (which is not the same as predicted), what evolution could make from such turtles.

Apparently adaptation to the environment has some constraints. These constraints are linked with the body organisation of a living organism.

This may appear trivial at first sight, but it means nothing else than the need to change and extend Darwinian Theory. The interplay of mutation and selection is not sufficient, many shapes of organisms follow rules that are embodied in this shape itself and therefore cannot be understood as adaptation to a certain environment. The comparison of biological and technical forms, thus opens a new viewpoint upon evolution.



Speaker: Eberhard Frey carries his second name "Dino" for a certain reason - he is heading the department of Geology of the Karlsruhe Museum for Natural Science and is one of the internationally most prominent representative of "Dino"logy. After studying biology in Tübingen he worked during his Ph.D. on fossile crocodiles and specialised on Flying Dinosaurs, where he contributed the discovery and description of several new species. Following an intermezzo at the Landesmuseum Darmstadt he found his destination in Karlsruhe and is also integrated as professor into the KIT biology. His speciality, so called construction morphology, attempts to understand and to explain body structures on biophysical basis.