[Posted on behalf of Dr. Bookstein] 

Dear MorphMetters, 

I'm happy to announce that my paper "Reflections on a Biometrics of 
Organismal Form" has just been posted for open access by the Springer 
journal Biological Theory. You can get a free copy by pointing your browser 


and clicking on what is, for now, the top entry in the Latest Articles 
table on the home page. 

This article is a sequel to my 2015 article in Benedikt Hallgrimsson's 
journal Evolutionary Biology that introduced the BE-PwV plot as the best 
tool for studying integration in GMM data sets. I trace the basic idea here 
back nearly a hundred years, not to D'Arcy Thompson but to a 
hitherto-untranslated critique of his ideas by the Vivarium group under 
Hans Przibram in Vienna arguing that the only valid way that a biologist 
should study organismal form is by direct experimental observation of 
transformation grids: "Thompson's holistic deformations can be made 
comprehensible if we can visualize a space lattice upon the living form, so 
as to assess how each little piece changes its shape under conditions that 
vary by species. Here lies open a rich, nearly undeveloped field that 
invites a mathematization, one whose erection we hope will begin very 
soon." But the timing seems to have slipped a bit, namely, by 97 years. The 
new paper argues that BE-PwV is exactly the "mathematization" they were 
envisioning, which could not be made empirical until the development of 
geometric morphometrics, and further that it is the only morphometric 
method consistent with the most fundamental fact in all of biology, "the 
repetitive production of organized heterogeneity" (Hotchkiss 1958) or, as 
Walter Elsasser put it in 1987, "the transfer of information over finite 
intervals of time without an intermediate message." For instance, the new 
article demonstrates how to recognize a growth-gradient explicitly even in 
the presence of unstructured residual variability. I close with a plea that 
others help me build the bridge that we need so urgently between the 
arithmetic of today's burgeoning image-based data resources and the 
rhetoric of biological explanations of organismal form both over evolution 
and over development. 

As always I welcome all comments on these ideas, enthusiastic or otherwise. 

                               Fred Bookstein 

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