Books by Subject


Animal Signals (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution)
by John Maynard Smith, David Harper
Oxford University Press; (December 1, 2003)
ISBN: 0198526857
Co-authored by a theoretician and a fieldworker, this text discusses the reasons behind the reliability of animal signals. Challenging the assumption that there is only one correct explanation for signal reliability, Smith and Harper (both U. of Sussex, UK) argue that it is maintained in several ways, relevant in different circumstances. The authors provide examples of animal signaling systems to which one or another theory applies, and identify areas where further research is needed.Copyright © 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species
by Lynn Margulis, Ourion Sagan, Ernst Mayr


Hardcover: 256 pages

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
From one of the great iconoclasts of modern biology, an original, accessible work that sets out, for lay and scientific readers alike, a new theory of how species begin.

In this groundbreaking book, Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan present an answer to one of the enduring mysteries of evolution--the source of inherited variation that gives rise to new species. Random genetic mutation, long believed to be the main source of variation, is only a marginal factor. As the authors demonstrate in this book, the more important source of speciation, by far, is the acquisition of new genomes by symbiotic merger.

The result of thirty years of delving into a vast, mostly arcane literature, this is the first book to go beyond--and reveal the severe limitations of--the "Modern Synthesis" that has dominated evolutionary biology for almost three generations. Lynn Margulis, whom E. O. Wilson called "one of the most successful synthetic thinkers in modern biology," and her co-author Dorion Sagan have written a comprehensive and scientifically supported presentation of a theory that directly challenges the assumptions we hold about the variety of the living world.

About the Author
Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the 1999 Presidential Medal of Science. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Dorion Sagan is the author of Biospheres and, with Dr. Eric Schneider, Into the Cool: The New Thermodynamics of Life. He lives in New York City.

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Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society
by David Sloan Wilso

Product Details

From the Publisher
One of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between evolution and religion. Until now, they have been considered completely irreconcilable theories of origin and existence. David Sloan Wilson's Darwin's Cathedral takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and social theory at their foundations.

The key, argues Wilson, is to think of society as an organism, an old idea that has received new life based on recent developments in evolutionary biology. If society is an organism, can we then think of morality and religion as biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups to function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals? Wilson brings a variety of evidence to bear on this question, from both the biological and social sciences. From Calvinism in sixteenth-century Geneva to Balinese water temples, from hunter-gatherer societies to urban America, Wilson demonstrates how religions have enabled people to achieve by collective action what they never could do alone. He also includes a chapter considering forgiveness from an evolutionary perspective, and concludes by discussing how all social organizations, including science, could benefit by including elements of religion.

Religious believers often compare their communities to single organisms and even to insect colonies. Astoundingly, Wilson shows that they might be literally correct. Intended for any educated reader, Darwin's Cathedral will change forever the way we view the relations among evolution, religion, and human society.

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Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
by Carl Zimmer, Stephen Jay Gould, (Introduction), Richard Hutton
Hardcover - 320 pages 1 Ed edition (September 4, 2001)
HarperCollins; ISBN: 0060199067 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.30 x 10.33 x 8.37

Other Editions: Audio Cassette (Abridged), Audio CD (Abridged) VHS Video Box Set -- PBS Television Series.

Editorial Reviews
While its opponents may sneer that "it's just a theory," evolution has transcended that label to take its place as one of the most important ideas in human history. Science journalist Carl Zimmer explores its history and future in Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, a companion piece to the epic PBS series of the same name. The book, lavishly illustrated with photos of our distant cousins, anatomical diagrams, and timelines, is as beautiful as it is enlightening. While those closely following the field will find little more here than a well-written summation of the state of the art in 2001, readers who have watched the evolutionary debates from a distance will quickly catch up with the details of the principal arguments.

Zimmer's text is fresh and expansive, explaining both the minutiae of comparative anatomy and the grand scale of geological time with verve and clarity. Following the trend of turn-of-the-century evolution writers, he treats the religious beliefs of creationists with respect, while firmly insisting that the scientific evidence against their position is too compelling to ignore. Touching on biology, philosophy, theology, politics, and nearly every other field of human thought, Evolution will inspire its readers with the elegance and importance of Darwin's simple theory. --Rob Lightner

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Evolution : An Introduction
by Rolf F. Hoekstra, Stephen C. Stearns

Paperback (April 2000)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0198549687

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
A major new textbook.

A concise and clear introduction to evolutionary biology.

This book introduces what is essential and exciting in evolutionary biology. It covers whole field and emphasises the important concepts for the student. Care has been taken to express complex and stimulating ideas in simple language, while the frequent examples and running summaries make reading fun. Its logical structure means that it can be read straight through, one chapter per sitting.

* Concise, clear, and states what is important

* Concentrates on the central concepts and illustrates them with telling examples

* Running summaries in the margins make navigation easy

* Suitable for a one-year or one-semester course in evolution

* Summaries at chapter ends

* Each chapter's links to neighbouring chapters are explained

Evolution: an introduction takes a fresh approach to classical topics such as population genetics and natural selection, and gives an overview of recent advances in hot areas such as sexual selection, genetic conflict, life history evolution, and phenotypic plasticity.

Detail of contents

The Prologue is unique and uniquely motivating. It makes four central points about evolution in the form of four case studies told as brief stories.

Chapters 1-3 describe natural selection and the essential difference between adaptive and neutral evolution with unmatched clarity and simplicity.

Chapter 4 emphasizes the essential message of population genetics without burdening the students with any of the unessential details and places unique emphasis on the role of the genetic system in constraining the response to selection.

Chapter 6 is not found in any other evolution textbook, although there are a number of recent books on the subject, and it therefore provides an introductory overview of a topic that has been the object of much recent interest and promises to generate much more insight: the expression of genetic variation analysed with the concept of reaction norms.

Chapters 7-9 cover sex, life histories, and sexual selection in greater depth than they are dealt with in any other introductory textbook but without introducing advanced technical language and analysis.

Chapters 6-9 thus give unprecedented coverage to phenotypic evolution in an introductory text.

Chapter 10 on multilevel selection and genetic conflict is unique in introductory textbooks. Rolf Hoekstra has achieved a wonder of clarity and concision on the essentials of this exciting topic.

Chapters 11 and 12 on speciation and systematics are, by comparison, pretty standard, but they continue the policy of clarity and concision with the focus on essentials.

Chapter 13 on the history of the planet and of life is a completely new approach unabashedly designed to motivate students to think about deep time, geology, paleontology, and fossils.

Chapter 14 on the major transitions in evolution is also not found in any other introductory textbook. It documents the conceptual issues raised in the history of life briefly and in a form that will stimulate the gifted.

Chapter 15 profiles the chief insights made possible by molecular systematics in the form of four case studies ranging from deep time to recent European history. It has standard content but unique structure. A strong point is the way mitochondrial Eve is contrasted with transpecies polymorphism to show students how to think about inferences with molecular evidence.

Chapter 16 briefly presents the principle comparative methods and the kinds of insights that can be achieved with them. It is not unique - Ridley covers this ground well - but the examples used are new and the essential features of the methods - including potential pitfalls - are quite clearly described.

Chapter 17 places evolutionary thought into the context both of the natural sciences and of society at large.
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The Evolutionists : The Struggle for Darwin's Soul
by Richard Morris
Hardcover - 288 pages (May 2001)
W H Freeman & Co; ISBN: 071674094X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.92 x 7.83 x 5.86

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Introduced in 1859, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution generated hot debate and controversy. Today, nearly all reputable scientists agree: evolution did happen and natural selection was its main driving force. And yet, a century and a half after Darwin, the theory of evolution is still being fought over with a ferocity that has rarely been equaled in the annals of science. What are scientists arguing about? And why are their exchanges sometimes so bitter?

In THE EVOLUTIONISTS, Richard Morris vividly portrays the controversies that rage today in the field of evolutionary biology. With a clear and unbiased eye, he explores the fundamental questions about the evolutionary process that have provoked such vehement disagreement among some of the world's most prominent scientists, including Stephen Jay Gould, fellow paleontologist Niles Eldredge, geneticist John Maynard Smith, and zoologist Richard Dawkins.

As he elucidates the issues of contention, Morris also positions them within the broader context of evolutionary thought as a whole. He explains the theory of evolution in detail, reviews the main trends of evolutionary science since Darwin, and assesses how the field is changing today--from ground-breaking new research to the emergence of scientific disciplines like complexity theory and evolutionary psychology.

A vibrant account of contemporary evolutionary biology, THE EVOLUTIONISTS is a fascinating look at how controversy and debate shape the scientific process.

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The Spark of Life : Darwin and the Primeval Soup
by Christopher Wills, Jeffrey Bada
Paperback - 320 pages 0 edition (March 6, 2001)
Perseus Books; ISBN: 0738204935 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.68 x 9.23 x 6.02

Other Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
Can you create life with just a taser and a bowl of soup? Most likely not, unless you give yourself a few hundred million years to experiment. Biologist Christopher Wills and marine chemist Jeffrey Bada show off the fruits of research looking for signs of life elsewhere and clues to the origin of terrestrial organisms in The Spark of Life. The writing is clear and every concept is explained well--Wills's reputation for translating scientific understanding into plain English is well-deserved, and Bada's insider status with NASA provides insight not found elsewhere. They examine the field of theories, from extraterrestrial origin to life spilling out of hydrothermal vents to deep-crust genesis, and find strengths and weaknesses in them all. Their own partisan stance has it that life began on the surface of our planet through Darwinian-like processes operating on primitive self-replicating chemicals. Though their arguments are fairly compelling, the jury is still out, and will probably remain out indefinitely; science often balks at providing explanations for unique events, preferring to stick to general principles. Still, we can see that the problem is valuable because the search for an answer turns up all sorts of unexpected scientific finds: RNA-catalyzed reactions, Martian environmental problems, and natural selection of nonliving chemicals all showed up amid these debates. While it won't settle the issues, we can be glad that The Spark of Life explains them so clearly and primes us for the research still to come. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to the
hardcover edition of this title

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The Evolution Explosion: How Humans Cause Rapid Evolutionary Change
by Stephen R. Palumbi
Hardcover - 288 pages (May 2001)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393020118 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.11 x 8.55 x 5.75

Editorial Reviews
The first thing that Harvard University biology professor Stephen Palumbi wants you to know is that evolution is a fact, not a theory. The second is this: evolution does not require eons and eons to make its effects manifest. By tinkering with genes and rewriting the laws of natural selection, we humans have lately been "accelerating the evolutionary game, especially among the species that live with us most intimately"--not our pets, that is to say, but the food we eat, the pests that share that food, and the diseases that visit us.

Almost all of this accelerated evolution--which, as in the pointed case of the human immunodeficiency virus, occurs faster than we can track it--is an unintended, accidental consequence of some well-intentioned effort to improve human life by sidestepping nature. One such consequence is the growing incidence of drug-resistant bacteria and viruses, which have mutated to survive antibiotic treatments to the point that postoperative infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus now pose a major threat to hospitals. Another is the arrival of pests that have evolved to survive pesticides of many kinds, pests that threaten crops around the world in a time of ever-increasing scarcity. All this, Palumbi writes, is "evolution with teeth," and such responses to our hapless prompting make humans the most potent evolutionary form the planet has ever known. Whether we can survive our own power to reshape the earth remains a question. But, Palumbi concludes, ideas evolve, too, so that we can hope against hope to think our way back to more or less normal cycles of evolutionary change. Well-written and provocative, his book makes for a useful start. --Gregory McNamee

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The Evolution of Human Sociality
by Stephen K. Sanderson

Paperback - 400 pages (May 2001)
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing; ISBN: 0847695352

Other Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
This book attempts a broad theoretical synthesis within the field of sociology and its closely allied sister discipline of anthropology. It draws together what the author considers the best of these disciplines' theoretical approaches into a synthesized theory called Darwinian conflict theory. This theory, in the most general sense, is a synthesis of the tradition of economic and ecological materialism and conflict theory stemming from Marx, Marvin Harris, and the tradition of biological materialism deriving from Darwin. The first half of the book is taken up with critiques of existing theoretical approaches; this then leads to the full elaboration, in formal propositional form, of synthetic theory. The second half of the book lays out the large amount of evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, that supports the synthesized theory.

About the Author
Stephen K. Sanderson is professor of sociology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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Evolution's Workshop: God and Science on the Galápagos Islands
by Edward J. Larson
Hardcover - 320 pages 0 edition (March 2001)
Basic Books; ISBN: 0465038107 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.12 x 9.51 x 6.40

Editorial Reviews
When Europeans first explored the Galapagos Islands, a rugged archipelago 650 miles off the coast of Ecuador, they were astounded by the forbidding landscape and the odd behavior of the animals and plants they found there. "The place is like a new creation," wrote ship captain George Anson, a nephew of the poet Lord Byron. "The birds and beasts do not get out of our way; the pelicans and sea-lions look in our faces as if we had no right to intrude on their solitude; the small birds are so tame that they hop upon our feet; and all this amidst volcanoes which are burning around us on either hand."

Others who followed, like the onetime sailor and writer Herman Melville, took a dimmer view, calling the place "evilly enchanted ground." Whatever the sentiment, the Galapagos attracted generations of scientists, who, following the example of Charles Darwin, traveled there to test theories of speciation, adaptation, migration, and selection. Their work in the field helped overturn the prevailing orthodoxies of special creation, writes Edward J. Larson in his vigorous history of the islands and their role in the development of modern biological science. Their work also changed the face of the islands themselves, as hundreds and thousands of plants and animals were killed or removed for collections far afield, with a single expedition taking more than 10,000 birds and skins.

Today, the islands face other threats, as tens of thousands of ecotourists travel there each year, disturbing sensitive environments, and as alien plant and animal species are introduced. Still, Larson notes at the close of his fine book, "the archipelago's ecosystem has proved surprisingly resilient in the past," and conservation measures may yet be found to preserve the islands' "age-old solitude." --Gregory McNamee

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The Ghosts of Evolution
by Connie Barlow, Paul Martin
Hardcover - 224 pages (April 3, 2001)
Basic Books; ISBN: 0465005519 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.98 x 9.57 x 6.55
Book Description
A fresh voice in science and nature writing presents an engaging first-person account of a revolution in ecological thinking A new vision is sweeping through ecological science: The dense web of dependencies that makes up an ecosystem has gained an added dimension-the dimension of time. Every field, forest, and park is full of living organisms adapted for relationships with creatures that are now extinct. In a vivid narrative, Connie Barlow shows how the idea of "missing partners" in nature evolved from isolated, curious examples into an idea that is transforming how ecologists understand the entire flora and fauna of the Americas. This fascinating book will enrich and deepen the experience of anyone who enjoys a stroll through the woods or even down an urban sidewalk. But this knowledge has a dark side too: Barlow's "ghost stories" teach us that the ripples of biodiversity loss around us now are just the leading edge of what may well become perilous cascades of extinction.
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The Imitation Factor: Evolution Beyond the Gate
by Lee Alan Dugatkin
Hardcover - 243 pages 1st edition (January 2001)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684864533 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.05 x 8.76 x 5.78
Editorial Reviews

Book Description
Is imitation really the best compliment? As Lee Alan Dugatkin's powerful work of cutting-edge science reveals, imitation is the most profound compliment you can give anyone. It might last for millions of years.

An acclaimed biologist, Dugatkin has identified and mapped the effects of a powerful, overlooked, and deceptively simple factor in evolutionary history. He shows how the imitation of one individual by another, in any species, is an essential and fundamental natural force that has enabled the growth of animal and human societies. Previously inexplicable animal behaviors become comprehensible in the light of Dugatkin's research: How can one group of monkeys all learn to use a new tool in one generation? There is no time for genetic evolution to achieve this, but the social system enabled by imitation manages it easily. Dugatkin also investigates the way we, and other species, select mates. Why do tiny sailfin molly fish have sex with another species? The somewhat disturbing truth is, simply, to impress the ladies. There can be no purely genetic, standard Darwinian explanation for it. Such fishy sex isn't all in the genes. Humans and animals alike do things because they see others doing them; in this way fashions, traditions, and customs eventually emerge. Indeed, Dugatkin's astonishing point is that the imitation factor has led to the development in animals of education and culture. This fact has changed the course of evolutionary history.

Dugatkin draws on a wide range of his own and others' research into the behavior of fish, birds, whales, and humans to reveal the failure of genetic determination to explain mating behavior and the fundamental process of learning. As we watch people become popular and find ourselves attracted to them, we are doing nothing more than what animals have been doing for eons. Dugatkin follows the course of imitation as it leads to teaching and reveals that the mechanics of "animal education" built the species-wide phenomenon known in our own society as civilization. An original, brilliant, and lucid presentation of a profound new idea in evolutionary science, The Imitation Factor will have an enduring impact on the way we understand life on earth, and ourselves.

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Introducing Evolution
by Dylan Evans, Howard Selina (Illustrator)

Paperback - 176 pages (December 2001)
Totem Books; ISBN: 1840462655 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.47 x 8.30 x 5.64

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