Description : Presents the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the indelible stamp of the evolutionary processes first proposed by Darwin.
Description : “I often said before starting, that I had no doubt I should frequently repent of the whole undertaking.” So wrote Charles Darwin aboard The Beagle, bound for the Galapagos Islands and what would arguably become the greatest and most controversial discovery in scientific history. But the theory of evolution did not spring full-blown from the head of Darwin. Since the dawn of humanity, priests, philosophers, and scientists have debated the origin and development of life on earth, and with modern science, that debate shifted into high gear. In this lively, deeply erudite work, Pulitzer Prize–winning science historian Edward J. Larson takes us on a guided tour of Darwin’s “dangerous idea,” from its theoretical antecedents in the early nineteenth century to the brilliant breakthroughs of Darwin and Wallace, to Watson and Crick’s stunning discovery of the DNA double helix, and to the triumphant neo-Darwinian synthesis and rising sociobiology today. Along the way, Larson expertly places the scientific upheaval of evolution in cultural perspective: the social and philosophical earthquake that was the French Revolution; the development, in England, of a laissez-faire capitalism in tune with a Darwinian ethos of “survival of the fittest”; the emergence of Social Darwinism and the dark science of eugenics against a backdrop of industrial revolution; the American Christian backlash against evolutionism that culminated in the famous Scopes trial; and on to today’s world, where religious fundamentalists litigate for the right to teach “creation science” alongside evolution in U.S. public schools, even as the theory itself continues to evolve in new and surprising directions. Throughout, Larson trains his spotlight on the lives and careers of the scientists, explorers, and eccentrics whose collaborations and competitions have driven the theory of evolution forward. Here are portraits of Cuvier, Lamarck, Darwin, Wallace, Haeckel, Galton, Huxley, Mendel, Morgan, Fisher, Dobzhansky, Watson and Crick, W. D. Hamilton, E. O. Wilson, and many others. Celebrated as one of mankind’s crowning scientific achievements and reviled as a threat to our deepest values, the theory of evolution has utterly transformed our view of life, religion, origins, and the theory itself, and remains controversial, especially in the United States (where 90% of adults do not subscribe to the full Darwinian vision). Replete with fresh material and new insights, Evolution will educate and inform while taking readers on a fascinating journey of discovery.
Description : The comprehensive and authoritative source on the development and impact on one of the most controversial of scientific theories.
Description : There are many different types of organisms in the world: they differ in size, physiology, appearance, and life history. The challenge for evolutionary biology is to explain how such diversity arises. The Evolution of Life Histories does this by showing that natural selection is the principal underlying force molding life history variation. The book describes in particular the ways in which variation can be analyzed and predicted. It covers both the genetic and optimization approaches to life history analysis and gives an overview of the general framework of life history theory and the mathematical tools by which predictions can be made and tested. Factors affecting the age schedule of birth and death and the costs of reproduction are discussed. The Evolution of Life Histories concentrates on those theoretical developments that have been tested experimentally. It will interest both students and professionals in evolution, evolutionary ecology, mathematical and theoretical biology, and zoology and entomology.
Description : J.B.S. Haldane (1892-1964), one of the founders of the science of population genetics, was also one of the greatest practitioners of the art of explaining science to the layperson. Haldane was a superb story-teller, as his essays and his children's books attest. In The Causes of Evolution he not only helped to marry the new science of genetics to the older one of evolutionary theory but also provided an accessible introduction to the genetical basis of evolution by natural selection. Egbert Leigh's new introduction to this classic work places it in the context of the ongoing study of evolution. Describing Haldane's refusal to be confined by a "System" as a "light-hearted" one, Leigh points out that we are now finding that "Haldane's questions are the appropriate next stage in learning how adaptation can evolve. We are now ready to reap the benefit of the fact that Haldane was a free man in the sense that really matters."
Description : Less than 450 years ago, all European scholars believed that the Earth was at the centre of a Universe that was at most a few million miles in extent, and that the planets, sun, and stars all rotated around this centre. Less than 250 years ago, they believed that the Universe was createdessentially in its present state about 6000 years ago. Even less than 150 years ago, the view that living species were the result of special creation by God was still dominant. The recognition by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace of the mechanism of evolution by natural selection hascompletely transformed our understanding of the living world, including our own origins. In this Very Short Introduction Brian and Deborah Charlesworth provide a clear and concise summary of the process of evolution by natural selection, and how natural selection gives rise to adaptations and eventually, over many generations, to new species. They introduce the central concepts of thefield of evolutionary biology, as they have developed since Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago, and discuss some of the remaining questions regarding processes. They highlight the wide range of evidence for evolution, and the importance of an evolutionary understanding forinstance in combating the rapid evolution of resistance by bacteria to antibiotics and of HIV to antiviral drugs. This reissue includes some key updates to the main text and a completely updated Further Reading section.ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Description : John Maynard Smith was originally trained as an engineer but, despite important excursions into animal mechanics, ecology and ethology, he is now best known as an international authority on evolution. His pre-eminence is based in large part on original research contributions coupled with an uncanny ability for revealing simple explanations to apparently intractable problems. This wide-ranging volume contains a collection of new and original essays, all inspired by Maynard Smith's writings. The essays span the whole field of evolutionary biology: from microevolution to macroevolution; from evolutionarily stable strategies to sympatric speciation; and from population processes in plants to the arithmetic of assessment in animals.
Description : All living plants and animals, including man, are the modified descendants of one or a few simple living things. A hundred years ago Darwin and Wallace in their theory of natural selection, or the survival of the fittest, explained how evolution could have happened, in terms of processes known to take place today. In this book John Maynard Smith describes how their theory has been confirmed, but at the same time transformed, by recent research, and in particular by the discovery of the laws of inheritance.