Below is the final statement emerging from the Altenberg workshop, agreed upon by all 16 participants. Individual commentaries about the workshop will be posted on the KLI web site, and MIT Press will publish the full proceedings by the end of 2009.

A group of 16 evolutionary biologists and philosophers of science convened at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg (Austria) on July 11-13 to discuss the current status of evolutionary theory, and in particular a series of exciting empirical and conceptual advances that have marked the field in recent times.

The new information includes findings from the continuing molecular biology revolution, as well as a large body of empirical knowledge on genetic variation in natural populations, phenotypic plasticity, phylogenetics, species-level stasis and punctuational evolution, and developmental biology, among others.

The new concepts include (but are not limited to): evolvability, developmental plasticity, phenotypic and genetic accommodation, punctuated evolution, phenotypic innovation, facilitated variation, epigenetic inheritance, and multi-level selection.

By incorporating these new results and insights into our understanding of evolution, we believe that the explanatory power of evolutionary theory is greatly expanded within biology and beyond. As is the nature of science, some of the new ideas will stand the test of time, while others will be significantly modified. Nonetheless, there is much justified excitement in evolutionary biology these days. This is a propitious time to engage the scientific community in a vast interdisciplinary effort to further our understanding of how life evolves.


John Beatty (University of British Columbia); Werner Callebaut (University of Hasselt); Sergey Gavrilets (University of Tennessee); Eva Jablonka (Tel Aviv University); David Jablonski (University of Chicago); Marc Kirschner (Harvard University); Alan Love (University of Minnesota); Gerd Muller (University of Vienna); Stuart Newman (New York Medical College); John Odling-Smee (Oxford University); Massimo Pigliucci (Stony Brook University); Michael Purugganan (New York University); Eors Szathmary (Collegium Budapest); Gunter Wagner (Yale University); David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton University); Greg Wray (Duke University).