Orthogenesis of the hominids: an exploration using biorthogonal grids

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  26 Aug 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4306, pp. 901-904
DOI: 10.1126/science.407650


In 1917, D'Arch Thompson suggested that one should study the change from one biological form to another by examining the unique mathematical object that maps between them in accord with biological homologies. Biorthogonal grids provide a particular coordinate system for visualizing such a map and lead to a quantitative syntax in which a change in shape is reduced to differential changes in size. Application of the method to hominid skull phylogeny has demonstrated three principal axes of evolutionary change anatomically homologous over a fossil sequence.