Ecology, as well as biology, are classified as lawless sciences. This means there is no body of scientific laws (or fundamental statements) that regulate the development of the scientific practice in these disciplines, like in physics and chemistry. Even the notion of shared fundamental processes among ecological and biological studies is often obscured.
Indeed, only a handful of researchers can be said to have devoted themselves to attempting to uncover scientific laws in biology or ecology. Among them is, D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, who became interested in the relationship between growth and shape. He advocated in his tome, “On Growth and Form” (1917, 1945) that the mathematical study of biological forms necessarily implicated the study of growth. Thus, in his proposition, growth and form are indissociably intertwined, and morphodynamics are considered as fundamental to all biological sciences.
Perhaps the most well-known example of his work is the morphodynamics of molluscan shells and the set of equations he proposed that could produce the shape of any extant shell. In this presentation, I will show that by critically re-examining this work, in light of recent technological advances, we can generate new insights about biological growth using morphodynamics that may lead to more general principles, or laws. The implications and benefits of using this framework in sclerochronological studies will be discussed.