Books by Subject

Human Evolution


A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change
by William H. Calvin

Hardcover (February 2002)
University of Chicago Press; ISBN: 0226092011

Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Backbone of History : Health and Nutrition in the Western Hemisphere
by Richard H. Steckel, (Editor), Jerome C. Rose, (Editor
Edition: Hardcover

Product Details

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
This study gathers skeletal evidence on seven basic indicators of health to assess chronic conditions that affected individuals who lived in the Western Hemisphere from 5000 B.C. to the late nineteenth century. Signs of biological stress in childhood and of degeneration in joints and in teeth increased in the several millenia before the arrival of Columbus as populations moved into less healthy ecological environments.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Human Evolutionary Psychology
by Louise Barrett, Robin Dunbar, John Lycett

Paperback - 464 pages (April 2002)
Princeton Univ Pr; ISBN: 0691096228 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.94 x 9.46 x 6.99

In-Print Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Why do people resort to plastic surgery to look young? Why are stepchildren at greatest risk of fatal abuse? Why do we prefer gossip to algebra? Why must Dogon wives live alone in a dark hut for five days a month? Why are young children good at learning language but not sharing? Over the past decade, psychologists and behavioral ecologists have been finding answers to such seemingly unrelated questions by applying an evolutionary perspective to the study of human behavior and psychology. Human Evolutionary Psychology is a comprehensive, balanced, and readable introduction to this burgeoning field. It combines a sophisticated understanding of the basics of evolutionary theory with a solid grasp of empirical case studies.

Covering not only such traditional subjects as kin selection and mate choice, this text also examines more complex understandings of marriage practices and inheritance rules and the way in which individual action influences the structure of societies and aspects of cultural evolution. It critically assesses the value of evolutionary explanations to humans in both modern Western society and traditional preindustrial societies. And it fairly presents debates within the field, identifying areas of compatibility among sometimes competing approaches.

Combining a broad scope with the more in-depth knowledge and sophisticated understanding needed to approach the primary literature, this text is the ideal introduction to the exciting and rapidly expanding study of human evolutionary psychology.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Tree of Origin : What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us About Human Social Evolution
by Frans de Waal
Hardcover - 256 pages (April 2001)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674004604
Editorial Reviews
Review by William  A.  Spriggs,  August 20,  2001

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.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Meat-Eating and Human Evolution (Human Evolution Series)
by Craig B. Stanford (Editor), Henry T. Bunn (Editor)

Hardcover (May 2001)
Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0195131398

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Evolution and the Human Mind : Modularity, Language, and Meta-Cognition
by Peter Carruthers (Editor), Andrew Chamberlain (Editor)

Hardcover (January 2001)
Cambridge Univ Pr (Short); ISBN: 0521783313
Other Editions: Paperback

Click here to learn more or purchase from

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

Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Evolution of Cognition (KLI Series in Theoretical Biology)
by Cecelia Heyes, Ludwig Huber (Editor)
Hardcover - 396 pages (August 11, 2000)
MIT Press; ISBN: 0262082861
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
In the last decade, "evolutionary psychology" has come to refer exclusively to research on human mentality and behavior, motivated by a nativist interpretation of how evolution operates. This book encompasses the behavior and mentality of nonhuman as well as human animals and a full range of evolutionary approaches. Rather than a collection by and for the like-minded, it is a debate about how evolutionary processes have shaped cognition.

The debate is divided into five sections: Orientations, on the phylogenetic, ecological, and psychological/comparative approaches to the evolution of cognition; Categorization, on how various animals parse their environments, how they represent objects and events and the relations among them; Causality, on whether and in what ways nonhuman animals represent cause and effect relationships; Consciousness, on whether it makes sense to talk about the evolution of consciousness and whether the phenomenon can be investigated empirically in nonhuman animals; and Culture, on the cognitive requirements for nongenetic transmission of information and the evolutionary consequences of such cultural exchange.

About the Author
Cecilia Heyes is Reader in Psychology at University College London and Research Associate at the ESRC. Ludwig Huber is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theoretical Biology, Institute of Zoology, University of Vienna.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Dear Mr. Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature
by Gabriel Dove
Hardcover - 262 pages (September 4, 2000)
Univ California Press; ISBN: 0520227905
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to talk to Charles Darwin about changes that have taken place in evolutionary biology since his death will be fascinated by this witty and literate blend of science, history, and biography. Stimulated by Darwin's relatively uninformed but obviously intelligent questions, Gabriel Dover takes the father of evolution on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride through the new genetics. The imagined two-way correspondence between Dover and Darwin about the surprising findings of modern genetics and the evolution of biological novelties, from genes to organisms, is both erudite and entertaining. In the process, Dover presents a startlingly original view of development and evolution that puts the individual organism on center stage.

Creating a cultural backdrop that ranges from the poetry of Ted Hughes to the music of Captain Beefheart to the current crisis in the Balkans, Dover debunks the naively deterministic view of selfish genes and their supposed lonely pursuits of self-replication and self-immortalization. He reveals a world of evolution far more intricate and subtle than can be expected from the notion of natural selection acting alone in which genes are born to cooperate.

About the Author
Gabriel Dover is an internationally recognized authority on the evolution of genes and genomes and is the originator of the molecular drive theory of evolution. He has written more than 150 research papers and edited several books on modern aspects of molecular and developmental evolution. He is currently Professor of Genetics at the University of Leicester.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Extinct Humans
by Ian Tattersall, Jeffrey H. Schwartz
Hardcover - 224 pages (July 2000)
Westview Pr (Trd); ISBN: 0813334829 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.00 x 10.32 x 8.36 Sales Rank: 2,201
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Dawn of Man: The Story of Human Evolution
by Robin Mckie
Hardcover - 288 pages 1 Amer Ed edition (August 2000)
DK Publishing; ISBN: 0789462621 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.84 x 11.14 x 8.76

Editorial Reviews
Dawn of Man, which accompanies a BBC television series, tells the story of human evolution, warts and all, over the last 4 million years or so. From a shared ancestor with the higher apes, an upright, walking ape-human in Africa, McKie takes our story through the Ice Age to domination by modern humans.

One of the few unique attributes of humans, which sets us apart from our nearest living relatives, the chimps, is a concern with our own history. Although anthropologists and archaeologists have conducted serious scientific investigation of our ancestry for well over 150 years, it is still a bit surprising how little we know.

The quest to discover our story is a bit like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle without a picture to tell us what the finished puzzle should look like. To further the metaphor, we also have no idea how many pieces there are altogether, and the few pieces we do have are mostly incomplete. Practically any new bit of evidence can change our idea of the overall picture, so the story of human evolution is constantly changing. As science editor for Britain's Observer newspaper, McKie is able to provide a very readable and up-to-date account of our remarkable story.

One of the most compelling questions explored by McKie concerns our relationship with the Neanderthal people, who died out 30,000 years ago. Comparison of Neanderthal DNA with that of living humans suggests that our ancestors did not interbreed with the Neanderthals. Recently, however, skeletons have been found that seem to show a complete mixture of Neanderthal and modern human (Cro-Magnon) characters. In Dawn of Man, McKie quotes extensively from interviews with the scientists who work on human prehistory, so we get as close as possible to the bare bones of the story. The excellent text, art work, photos, and graphics in Dawn of Man make it a capable stand-alone, very attractive for the general reader. --Douglas Palmer

Lucy's Legacy : Sex and Intelligence in Human Evolution
by Alison Jolly

Hardcover - 416 pages (November 1999)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674000692 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.60 x 6.44 x 9.56
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Defending the Cavewoman : And Other Tales of Evolutionary Neurology
by Harold L. Klawands, MD
Hardcover - 256 pages (January 2000)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393048314 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.92 x 5.73 x 8.45
  • Editorial Reviews
    "All superficial comparisons to the contrary, Oliver Sacks and I are really quite dissimilar," said Dr. Harold Klawans, in his essay "My Lunch with Oliver." He and Sacks were both neurologists, both with special interests in movement disorders and Parkinson's disease, and both writers. "The brain and how it functions is to Oliver a philosophical issue... I try to ask simple questions." Klawans's questions are not really "simple," but they're about evolution and development instead of philosophy.

    In his clinical practice, Klawans thought about the evolution of the brain to try to understand his patients' problems, and vice versa. His theme throughout is that brain development is about windows of opportunity: many things can only be learned in certain periods, and after puberty in particular the brain has been largely "pruned to shape," so that skills like language and music may never be properly acquired.

    The cavewoman of the title is the one who stayed home taking care of the babies while Man the Hunter was off spearheading the Ascent of Man (in what Stephen Jay Gould, one of Klawans's favorite writers, calls an "evolutionary just-so story"). Not so, says Klawans: because the window of opportunity for learning language is in childhood, especially early childhood, language must have arisen between mothers and children: "though few defend the Cavewoman, we all speak our mother's tongue." --Mary Ellen Curtin

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers : How Agriculture Really Began
by Colin Tudge
Paperback - 64 pages (September 1999)
Yale Univ Pr; ISBN: 0300080247 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.45 x 7.34 x 4.85

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Colin Tudge overturns the traditional view that farming began in the Middle East 10,000 years ago, quickly led to the Neolithic farming revolution, and ended the hunting-gathering lifestyle. Agriculture in some form had been practiced for thousands of years before that, Tudge argues. Neolithic farming was not the beginning of agriculture but the beginning of agriculture on a large scale, in one place, with refined tools.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Origins of Life : From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language
by John Maynard Smith, Eors Szathmary

Hardcover - 224 pages (May 1999)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0198504934 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 9.54 x 6.40

Life is a long, strange trip, and in The Origins of Life, John Maynard Smith and Eörs Szathmáry blast you through its three-and-a-half-billion-year history at breathtaking pace.

Life, we learn, is information, transmitted in ever more intricate ways across the generations. Self-replicating chemicals walled themselves into cells, organized themselves into regimented communities of chromosomes, swapped notes with other populations to become sexual, cloned themselves to form multicellular colonies called organisms, got together with other colonies to form societies, and, eventually, in the case of one particular ape, developed the ability to put this whole story down on paper.

For those evolutionists brought up on the theory of "red queens" and "self genes," Origins provides a complementary crash course in the practical nuts-and-bolts biology behind the headlines. The authors describe the technical problems involved in the transition from one stage to another, and explain the ingenious and often fortuitous steps that natural selection took to overcome them. For example, the rigid walls of the first cells gave way to more flexible membranes that could engulf food particles and incorporate "little organs" such as mitochondria. A "cytoskeleton" of filaments and tubules was needed to maintain the cell's integrity, and--presto!--this structure was the perfect motorway for intracellular traffic, ideal for shearing the cell apart during cloning, and provided the earliest means of locomotion, such as the tail of sperm.

With this attention to detail, the book requires careful reading--but it's worth it. Maynard Smith and Szathmáry's book makes you realize just how lucky you are to be alive. --Oliver Curry,
Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Riddled Chain : Chance, Coincidence, and Chaos in Human Evolution
by Jerrrey K. McKee
Hardcover - 256 pages (July 2000)
Rutgers Univ Press; ISBN: 081352783X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.93 x 9.33 x 6.35
From the Inside Flap
Did human evolution proceed in an inevitable fashion? Can we attribute our origins solely to natural selection, or were more mischievous forces at work?

These are the questions investigation by anthropologist Jeffrey K. McKee. He argues that if we were to turn back the clock to our split from ancestral apes, evolution would proceed differently. Ever since our ancestors first stood up on two feet, natural selection undoubtedly was an important factor in guiding human evolution. But McKee shakes the standard notion that natural selection steered early hominids toward particular environmental adaptations. The fossil remains of our ancestors direction. It becomes clear that the evolutionary road to Homo Sapiens was not paved solely by natural selection; There was just a dim pat cut out by prehistoric coincidences and contingencies. Had any link in the evolutionary chain of events been slightly different, then our species would not be as t is today... or our ancestors may not have survived at all.

With both humor and awe, McKee illustrates how the chain of evolution has been riddled with chance, coincidence, and chaos. He uses familiar examples, noting that many of us exist as individuals because of chance meeting of our parents. From the present back through prehistory, chance is at the heart of our creation-as is chaos. The classic example of chaos is the butterfly effect: a single butterfly, flapping its wings, causes a tiny change in the atmosphere, which in turn amplifies to affect the course of storms on another continent. McKee ties such example of unpredictability to fossil evidence and computer simulations, revealing the natural coincidences that shaped our evolution. Although chaos exacted an evolutionary price by limiting the powers of natural selection, it also made us what we are. One can only conclude that human beings were neither inevitable- nor probable.

About the Author
Jeffrey K. McKee is an associate professor in the departments of anthropology and evolution, ecology, and organismal biology at The Ohio State University. He is the coauthor of Understanding Human Evolution.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Evolutionary Analysis

Hardcover - 704 pages 2 edition (August 3, 2000)
Prentice Hall; ISBN: 013017291X

From the Back Cover
Designed to help readers learn how to think like evolutionary biologists, this 4-color book approaches evolutionary biology as a dynamic field of inquiry and as a process. Using a theme-based approach, it illustrates the interplay between theory, observation, testing and interpretation. It offers commentary on strengths and weaknesses of data sets, gives detailed examples rather than a broad synoptic approach, includes many data graphics and boxes regarding both sides of controversies. Introduces each major organizing theme in evolution through a question--e.g., How has HIV become drug resistant? Why did the dinosaurs, after dominating the land vertebrates for 150 million years, suddenly go extinct? Are humans more closely related to gorillas or to chimpanzees? Focuses on many applied, reader-relevant topics--e.g., evolution and human health, the evolution of senescence, sexual selection, social behavior, eugenics, and biodiversity and conservation. Then develops the strategies that evolutionary biologists use for finding an answers to such questions. Then considers the observations and experiments that test the predictions made by competing hypotheses, and discusses how the data are interpreted. For anyone interested in human evolution, including those working in human and animal health care, environmental management and conservation, primary and secondary education, science journalism, and biological and medical research.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century
by Howard K. Bloom
Hardcover - 384 pages 1 edition (August 2000)
John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471295841 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.22 x 9.49 x 6.38
Editorial Reviews
When did big-picture optimism become cool again? While not blind to potential problems and glitches, Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From the Big Bang to the 21st Century confidently asserts that our networked culture is not only inevitable but essential for our species' survival and eventual migration into space. Author Howard Bloom, believed by many to be R. Buckminster Fuller's intellectual heir, takes the reader on a dizzying tour of the universe, from its original subatomic particle network to the unimaginable data-processing power of intergalactic communication. His writing is smart and snappy, moving with equal poise through depictions of frenzied bacteria passing along information packets in the form of DNA and nomadic African tribespeople putting their heads together to find water for the next year.

The reader is swept up in Bloom's vision of the power of mass minds and, before long, can't help seeing the similarities between ecosystems, street gangs, and the Internet. Were Bloom not so learned and well-respected--more than a third of his book is devoted to notes and references, and luminaries from Lynn Margulis to Richard Metzger have lined up behind him--it would be tempting to dismiss him as a crank. His enthusiasm, the grand scale of his thinking, and his transcendence of traditional academic disciplines can be daunting, but the new outlook yielded to the persistent is simultaneously exciting and humbling. Bloom takes the old-school, sci-fi dystopian vision of group thinking and turns it around--Global Brain predicts that our future's going to be less like the Borg and more like a great party. --Rob Lightner

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Evolution in Health and Disease
by Stephen C. Stearns (Editor)

Hardcover (January 1999)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0198501102

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Evolutionary Analysis
by Scott Freeman, Jon C. Herron 
Hardcover - 786 pages 1 edition (November 5, 1997)
Prentice Hall; ISBN: 0135680239 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.34 x 10.29 x 8.28
From the Back Cover
Designed to furnish a readable and balanced introduction to evolutionary biology. KEY TOPICS: This book emphasizes the interpretation of phylogenies (evolutionary trees) and the integration of molecular and developmental genetics with paleontology. It balances coverage between evolutionary processes and history of life (microevolution and macroevolution). Provides the most up-to-date information available, featuring many recent citations and an emphasis on recent, cutting-edge examples to illustrate broad concepts.For anyone interested in the biological sciences.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Evolution and the Capacity for Commitment
by Randolph M. Nesse (Editor)

Hardcover (November 2001)
Russell Sage Foundation; ISBN: 0871546221

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Darwinian Dynamics : Evolutionary Transitions in Fitness and Individuality
By Richard E. Michod

Hardcover - 280 pages (March 1999)
Princeton Univ Pr; ISBN: 0691026998 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.92 x 9.50 x 6.37

Book Description
The concept of fitness has long been a topic of intense debate among evolutionary biologists and their critics, with its definition and explanatory power coming under attack. In this book, Richard Michod offers a fresh, dynamical interpretation of evolution and fitness concepts. He argues that evolution has no enduring products; what matters is the process of genetic change. Whereas many biologists have focused on competition and aggression as determining factors in survival, Michod, by concentrating on the emergence of individuality at new and more complex levels, finds that cooperation plays even a greater role.

Michod first considers the principles behind the hierarchically nested levels of organization that constitute life: genes, chromosomes, genomes, cells, multicellular organisms, and societies. By examining the evolutionary transitions from the molecular level up to the whole organism, the author explains how cooperation and conflict in a multilevel setting leads to new levels of fitness. He builds a model of fitness drawing on recent developments in ecology and multilevel selection theory and on new explanations of the origin of life. Michod concludes with a discussion of the philosophical implications of his theory of fitness, a theory that addresses the most fundamental and unique concept in all of biology.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Biological Anthropology: An Synthetic Approach to Human Evolution.

By Noel T. Boaz & Alan J. Almquist

Prentice Hall, July, 1996
ISBN: 0133692086

From the Back Cover
This innovative new text uses a narrative approach to introduce readers to human evolution and the dynamic subfields of biological anthropology. Evolution by natural selection provides the thread as readers learn the essentials of biological anthropology and genetics. In each section, behavior, morphology, adaptation, and ecology are discussed to provide the context and comparative bases for human origins. The human adaptation to culture and the interworkings of culture, biology, behavior, and evolution are emphasized.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life

By Daniel C. Dennett

In Consciousness Explained, Daniel Dennett insists on the importance of considering consciousness from the evolutionary point of view. Darwin's Dangerous Idea elaborates upon his theory of the evolution of consciousness, but also compendiously presents his views on the nature and significance of evolutionary thinking. The eponymous dangerous idea is, of course, the idea of evolution by natural selection, which Dennett esteems as "the single best idea anyone has ever had." When the theory is applied to Homo sapiens, however, the result threatens to be "the universal acid," eating through everything of value and leaving nothing in its place. One of Dennett's prime concerns is to argue that evolutionary explanations can demystify without destroying.

Darwin's Dangerous Idea is divided into three parts. In the first part, "Starting in the Middle," Dennett places the idea of evolution by natural selection in its historical context then explains it in his characteristically vivacious style. In the second part, "Darwinian Thinking in Biology," he critically examines challenges to Darwin's idea. Connoisseurs of intellectual controversy will especially relish chapter 10 ("Bully for Brontosaurus"), in which Stephen Jay Gould is castigated for misleadingly presenting his views as radical and anti-Darwinian. Finally, in the third part, Dennett discusses the implications of Darwinian thinking for "Mind, Meaning, Mathematics, and Morality." Among the luminaries targeted here are Noam Chomsky and Roger Penrose. Throughout, Dennett manages to synthesize information from many different fields into one unified view of life and its meaning. Writing with style and wit, he again shows that he merits his reputation as one of the best popularizers of science. --Glenn Branch
Touchstone Books, Jun. 1996
ISBN: 068482471X

Click here to learn more purchase from

Evolution's Eye : A Systems View of the Biology-Culture Divide (Science and Cultural Theory)
by Susan Oyama
Paperback - 272 pages (May 2000)
Duke Univ Pr (Txt); ISBN: 0822324725 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.83 x 9.18 x 6.09

Other Editions: Hardcover
Book Description
In recent decades, Susan Oyama and her colleagues in the burgeoning field of developmental systems theory have rejected the determinism inherent in the nature/nurture debate, arguing that behavior cannot be reduced to distinct biological or environmental causes. In Evolution's Eye Oyama elaborates on her pioneering work on developmental systems by spelling out that work's implications for the fields of evolutionary theory, developmental and social psychology, feminism, and epistemology. Her approach profoundly alters our understanding of the biological processes of development and evolution and the interrelationships between them.

While acknowledging that, in an uncertain world, it is easy to "blame it on the genes," Oyama claims that the renewed trend toward genetic determinism colors the way we think about everything from human evolution to sexual orientation and personal responsibility. She presents instead a view that focuses on how a wide variety of developmental factors interact in the multileveled developmental systems that give rise to organisms. Shifting attention away from genes and the environment as causes for behavior, she convincingly shows the benefits that come from thinking about life processes in terms of developmental systems that produce, sustain, and change living beings over both developmental and evolutionary time.

Providing a genuine alternative to genetic and environmental determinism, as well as to unsuccessful compromises with which others have tried to replace them, Evolution's Eye will fascinate students and scholars who work in the fields of evolution, psychology, human biology, and philosophy of science. Feminists and others who seek a more complex view of human nature will find her work especially congenial. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Click here to learn more purchase from

Mystery of Mysteries : Is Evolution a Social Construction?
by Michael Ruse

Hardcover - 320 pages (April 1999)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 067446706X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.22 x 9.57 x 6.52
Book Description
With the recent Sokal hoax-the publication of a prominent physicist's pseudo-article in a leading journal of cultural studies-the status of science moved sharply from debate to dispute. Is science objective, a disinterested reflection of reality, as Karl Popper and his followers believed? Or is it subjective, a social construction, as Thomas Kuhn and his students maintained? Into the fray comes Mystery of Mysteries, an enlightening inquiry into the nature of science, using evolutionary theory as a case study. Michael Ruse begins with such colorful luminaries as Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) and Julian Huxley (brother of novelist Aldous and grandson of T. H. Huxley, Darwin's bulldog') and ends with the work of the English game theorist Geoffrey Parker-a microevolutionist who made his mark studying the mating strategies of dung flies-and the American paleontologist Jack Sepkoski, whose computer-generated models reconstruct mass extinctions and other macro events in life's history. Along the way Ruse considers two great popularizers of evolution, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, as well as two leaders in the field of evolutionary studies, Richard Lewontin and Edward O. Wilson, paying close attention to these figures' cultural commitments: Gould's transplanted Germanic idealism, Dawkins's male-dominated Oxbridge circle, Lewontin's Jewish background, and Wilson's southern childhood. Ruse explicates the role of metaphor and metavalues in evolutionary thought and draws significant conclusions about the cultural impregnation of science. Identifying strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the "science wars," he demonstrates that a resolution of the objective and subjective debate is nonetheless possible
Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Extended Phenotype : The Long Reach of the Gene (Popular Science)
by Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett (Afterword)

Paperback - 318 pages Revised edition (July 1999)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0192880519 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.73 x 7.68 x 5.08

Editorial Reviews
In this influential and controversial book that has become a classic in popular science writing, Dawkins furthers his fascinating look at the evolution of life and natural selection.
Click here to learn more or purchase from


The Blind Watchmaker : Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design
by Richard Dawkins

Paperback - 358 pages reissue edition (September 1996)
W W Norton & Co; ISBN: 0393315703 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.95 x 8.20 x 5.49
Editorial Reviews
Richard Dawkins is not a shy man. Edward Larson's research shows that most scientists today are not formally religious, but Dawkins is an in-your-face atheist in the witty British style:


I want to persuade the reader, not just that the Darwinian world-view happens to be true, but that it is the only known theory that could, in principle, solve the mystery of our existence.

The title of this 1986 work, Dawkins's second book, refers to the Rev. William Paley's 1802 work, Natural Theology, which argued that just as finding a watch would lead you to conclude that a watchmaker must exist, the complexity of living organisms proves that a Creator exists. Not so, says Dawkins: "All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way... it is the blind watchmaker."

Dawkins is a hard-core scientist: he doesn't just tell you what is so, he shows you how to find out for yourself. For this book, he wrote Biomorph, one of the first artificial life programs. You can check Dawkins's results on your own Mac or PC.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Darwinism Applied: Evolutionary Paths to Social Goals (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

By John H. Beckstrom

Prageger Publication Text, Sept. 1993
ISBN: 0275945685
Book Description
Beckstrom explores how discoveries in evolutionary science can help people achieve, but not establish, social goals. Beginning with the principle that human behavior is, to some degree, influenced by genetics, the author considers how conduct can be modified in large population groupings using identified behavioral mechanisms. Aid-giving behavior common to human populations is established as a key factor that is fundamental to an understanding of its "flip side" involving abuse and neglect. The universal objectives of reducing child abuse, rape, incest, and war are explicitly addressed, as are such areas as intestate property distribution, street crime reduction, and the fostering or discouragement of patriotism. This book is a clear treatment of what practical implications neo-Darwinism can have for contemporary societies.

Click here to learn more or purchase from


Darwinism, Dominance, and Democracy: The Biological Bases of Authoritariamism (Human Evolution, Behavior, and Intelligence)

By Albert Somit & Steven a. Peterson

Praeger Publishing Text, Mar. 1997
ISBN: 0275958175
Book Description
Somit and Peterson seek to explain an incontrovertible, though hardly welcome fact: throughout human history, the overwhelming majority of political societies have been characterized by the rule of the few over the many, by dominance and submission, by command and obedience. Evolutionary theory provides an important part of the explanation: humans have been subject to natural selection and one result is that the species tends to feature dominance hierarchies, obedience to authority, and indoctrinability as various means of maintaining social order. These evolution-based behavioral tendencies help to explain the success of authoritarianism and the relative lack of success of democracy over time.

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Darwin Machines & the Nature of Knowledge

by Henry C. Plotkin


Harvard University Press, April 1997
ISBN: 0674192818

Click here to learn more or purchase from

How Humans Evolved

By Robert Boyd & Joan B. Silk

W.W. Norton & Co., Feb. 1997
ISBN: 0393970760
Book Description
How Humans Evolved by Robert Boyd and Joan B. Silk provides a comprehensive college-level introduction to the study of biological anthropology. Rather than simply providing a list of facts, How Humans Evolved encourages students to think critically about the process of human evolution by engaging students in theoretical discussions and debates and by asking them to wrestle with larger questions, such as how humans acquired language, why we age and eventually die, why only women nurse babies, and why human morphology differs across geographical regions. The text is also accompanied by an outstanding ancillary package for instructors.
Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts & the Evolution of Cooperation

by Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley puts it best: The Origins of Virtue "is about the billion-year coagulation of our genes into cooperative teams, the million-year coagulation of our ancestors into cooperative societies, and the thousand-year coagulation of ideas about society and its origins." Past examinations of human and beastly altruism have often led to some delightfully cynical conclusions. To wit: children have to learn to be nice in order to get ahead; adults are generous not out of good-heartedness but sheer self-interest; and those male dolphins get along in order to have their way with the females. Ridley does not discard such evidence so much as seek out instances of trust, mutual aid, and generosity and examine them through a new paradox: "Our minds have been built by selfish genes, but they have been built to be social, trustworthy and cooperative." The Origins of Virtue is unsettling as well as highly entertaining--its elegant style matching its strong substance. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title

Penquin Press, April 1998
ISBN: 0140264450

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Staying Human in the Organization: Our Biological Heritage and the Workplace (Human Evolutlion, Behavior, and Intelligence)

By J. Gary Bernhard & Kalman Glantz

Praeger Publication Text, Oct. 1992
ISBN: 0275942953

Click here to learn more or purchase from

The Selfish Gene

By Richard Dawkins

Inheriting the mantle of revolutionary biologist from Darwin, Watson, and Crick, Richard Dawkins forced an enormous change in the way we see ourselves and the world with the publication of The Selfish Gene. Suppose, instead of thinking about organisms using genes to reproduce themselves, as we had since Mendel's work was rediscovered, we turn it around and imagine that "our" genes build and maintain us in order to make more genes. That simple reversal seems to answer many puzzlers which had stumped scientists for years, and we haven't thought of evolution in the same way since.

Why are there miles and miles of "unused" DNA within each of our bodies? Why should a bee give up its own chance to reproduce to help raise her sisters and brothers? With a prophet's clarity, Dawkins told us the answers from the perspective of molecules competing for limited space and resources to produce more of their own kind. Drawing fascinating examples from every field of biology, he paved the way for a serious re-evaluation of evolution. He also introduced the concept of self-reproducing ideas, or memes, which (seemingly) use humans exclusively for their propagation. If we are puppets, he says, at least we can try to understand our strings. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Oxford University Press, Sept. 1990
ISBN: 0192860925

Click here to learn more or purchase from

Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evolution
by Kathleen R. Gibson (Editor), Tim Ingold (Editor)

Paperback (January 1995)
Cambridge Univ Pr (Pap Txt); ISBN: 052148541X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.95 x 9.71 x 6.88
Click here to purchase from

What Strategies Can Support the Evolutionary Emergence of Cooperation

by Jack Hirshleifer & Juan Carlos Martines Coll

University of California Press, Mar. 1996
ISBN: 0866820752

Click here to learn more or purchase from


Return to Books-by-Subject List