Do Frogs Come From Tadpoles?

by Craig Holdrege

The Nature Institute, 2017
$15 (softcover, 87 pages)


Where does a frog come from? The answer seems obvious. It comes from a tadpole. But does it?

Surely, without the tadpole the frog does not develop. But just as surely, nowhere do we find the frog in the tadpole. The frog comes into existence only as the tadpole disappears. We need to be keenly aware of what we mean, and what we don’t mean, when we say, “A frog develops out of a tadpole” — or a tadpole out of an embryo, or an embryo out of a fertilized egg, or an adult human being out of a child.

As we will see, when we give careful attention to what is actually happening when a new phase of life develops out of a previous stage, there are large implications for our overall understanding of developmental processes. New and exciting questions arise about how we conceive of development — including that trans-species developmental process we call evolution.

from the introduction 


Introduction 7

Chapter One. Do Frogs Come From Tadpoles? 11

The Life of a Tadpole 11
Metamorphosis 14
Thinking Development 20
But What About Genes and Hormones? Where Have all the Causes Gone? 22

Being Itself Differently 25
From Space to Time, From Thing to Process 29

Chapter Two. A Biology of Beings 31

Portraying a Frog 33

Scientific Portrayal 39

Chapter Three. Creativity, Ancestors, and Origins: What Frog Evolution Can Teach Us 45

The Double Nature of Life 46
Fossils and Life Past: Portraying or Explaining 49 Frog Fossil History 52
Forming a Picture of Evolutionary Transformation 62 e Problem of Ancestors 65
Of Origins and Creative Evolution 70

Acknowledgements 73 Notes 75
References 79