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21. Evolution: The Remarkable History
22. Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny
23. Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science,
24. An Introduction to Methods and
25. Compositional Evolution: The Impact
26. The Origin and Evolution of Mammals
27. The Cichlid Fishes of the Great
28. Science and Selection: Essays
29. Evolution
30. Ecology and Evolution of Parasitism:
31. Dictyostelium: Evolution, Cell
32. Evolution, Second Edition
33. Statistical Methods in Molecular
34. Information Theory, Evolution,
35. Spider Silk: Evolution and 400
36. The Evolution of Organ Systems
37. The Top 10 Myths About Evolution
38. Evolution of Respiratory Processes:
39. A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution
40. The Cambridge Dictionary of Human

21. Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (Modern Library Chronicles)
by Edward J. Larson
Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-08-08)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.34
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Asin: 0812968492
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“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.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (22)

4-0 out of 5 stars Evolution Of The Evolution Revolution
Mr. Larson has written a fine overview of the history of evolution. The book does not dwell endlessly on every skirmish between different scientists or the backlash from religious groups. If Mr. Larson had taken that approach, the size of "Evolution" would have made "War & Peace" look like a flimsy bookmark. Instead, the author effectively shows how and why Darwin's theory became and continues to be the backbone of all biological research. It is absolutely amazing that we are into the 21st century and, still, a large portion of the populace doesn't understand or accept evolution. This book is a great, entertaining start for people who believe knowledge is power and have the courage to take their brains out for a little fresh air.

If you are looking for a more detailed account of some of the topics skimmed over in this work, I'd humbly suggest Mr. Larson's "Summer for the Gods" about the Scopes Monkey Trial; "Monkey Girl" by Edward Humes which is about ignoramuses trying to sneak creationsim into Dover, Pennsylvania's high school science curricula; and "War Against the Weak" by Edwin Black that documents America's frightening, misguided flirtation with eugenics. All three of them are also excellent reads.

3-0 out of 5 stars Remarkably fitter than most
I have remarked elsewhere (somewhat controversially) that relatively few people, even biological scientists, really understand the Principle of Evolution.You will not become one of those few by reading this book.But what you will learn will be, to use the author's words, "remarkable." I have been a biologist for 30 years now and I learned something new from each page, not about biology but history, just as the subtitle says.

The author, Edward Larson is a professor in the School of Law at Pepperdine University.He has a Ph. D. in History from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from Harvard.He has several other works on the interaction between science and religion and works on various aspects of the legal history of the United States.His authority on this subject is well established.

The book starts in France, in the midst of the enlightenment, with the story of the man who managed to squash any real discussion of evolution throughout his lifetime and for 30 years after, Georges Couvier, the granddaddy of modern comparative anatomy.He argued against any form of gradual speciation on the grounds that the organ systems of each species were too essentially integrated to allow for any variation.Variation would lead to death, which happens to be right most of the time, and the essence of Couvier's argument remains at the heart of the objections of the advocates of Intelligent Design yet today.Couvier spent his career making sure that Lamarck's "ascending escalator" of species never got off the ground and the story of these two men and the changing ideas of the early 19th century is worth the price of the book.

But the origins of evolution are more to be found in fossils than finches, so the book turns to the work of Charles Lyell and the other rock choppers of England who founded simultaneously the sciences of geology and paleontology.It was Lyell's book, "Principles of Geology" that Darwin read and reread on that five year journey of the Beagle.It was Lyell that allowed Darwin to see back through the time available and necessary for evolution.Lyell's work was the bedrock on which Darwin eventually constructed his theory using the bricks and mortar supplied by Thomas Malthus. Darwin took his time with this construction and it's unveiling and this makes for a good story.

Professor Larson then describes the fanatical proselytizing for the ideas of evolution by "Darwin's Bulldog", Thomas Huxley, and Darwin's cousin, Francis Galton, the founder of Social Darwinism.One of the weakest points of the book is the author's failure to explore adequately the fact that the fervor of these men was every bit the equivalent of that of those similarly well-meaning folk who opposed the teaching of evolution insisting on Heavenly mechanisms 60 years later.The acceptance of both God and science by Darwin's American ally, Asa Gray, likewise remains unexplored.Huxley and Galton embraced the science so they might free themselves from religion, but that embrace is then how science becomes a religion, as it has for many people.That religion of science can lead to the same irrationality sometimes found in other religions. Social Darwinism has killed far more than the Crusades.

The book also struggles in places as it progresses through the 20th century, but then the science does start to get trickier here.The treatment of Mendel (his work was not discovered until the 20th century so it is dealt with here) is appropriately generous and that of Jay Gould appropriately harsh. The appeal here is the description of the scientists who followed Darwin to found modern genetics (lot of founding going on around this, hmmm), their lives and their interactions with each other which slowly lead to the synthesis of genetics and natural selection that we now call evolution.

The book regains its stride in its discussion of the rejection of evolution by many in the United States in the 20th century and of the Scopes Monkey Trial.But it should, Professor Larson has written another book on just that subject, "Summer for the Gods", the book that evidently lead him down this historical path.The movie "Inherit the Wind" is a lie and Professor Larson says so.But while the treatment of the deniers of evolution is fair, accurate and measured, the undertone of scorn is unmistakable.

For those who do want to know the science before they read this book, the starting point is easy - Darwin.Origin of the Species is easily the best non-fiction book of the 19th century and the corner stone of modern biology.For those who really want to try to understand the science, I recommend Douglas Futuyma's text, "Evolution."For those who just want to know the "remarkable history of a scientific theory" this is your place.

4-0 out of 5 stars Evolution for the general reader...
Tying together a quadrilogy of scholarship - _Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution_ (Oxford University Press, 1985), _Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South_ (John Hopkins University Press, 1996), _Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion_ (Basic Books, 1997), and _Evolution's Workshop: God and Science on the Galapagos Islands_ (Basic Books, 2001) - in _Evolution_, Larson presents a simple and broad overview of the history of the idea of evolutionary theory. Throughout he describes the science behind the development of the theory, as well as illuminating social and ideological forces acting on that development and in turn how evolutionary theory has influenced society. Much like Peter Bowler's _Evolution: The History of an Idea_ in scope and content, Larson's Evolution is less comprehensive or in-depth, which may serve its audience better.

The book is not divided into themed sections but consists of twelve chronological chapters that each highlight a moment in evolutionary thought. Beginning with two chapters that predate Darwin's time, Larson spells out the pre-Darwinian history of both special creation and evolutionary theories and how the two are intertwined. The early eighteenth century French anatomist Georges Cuvier plays the central role in Chapter 1. Larson notes that much of Cuvier's work "opened windows into the Earth's biological history that would lead others to a vision of organic evolution he steadfastly refused to see" (p. 5). In other words, Cuvier was a creationist, and his studies of organisms helped in appreciating God's work and later helped to create a naturalistic explanation for life. Placing Cuvier as a naturalist in historical perspective, his success spawned from a moderate republican government which "took power in Paris and promised to rebuild the central scientific establishment decapitated during the Terror" of the French Revolution (p. 6). Cuvier's access to numerous specimens owes gratitude to the militant excursions of Napoleon, whose troops would bring back to France samplings of the organic world. From the start, Larson emphasizes the dependence of science on social and political forces, an approach he does well.

From Cuvier Larson explores the foundation of nature being rooted in Biblical scripture to the rise of enlightenment thinkers with scientific materialism as the basis for ideas. In Chapter 2, he digs in to geology and paleontology, emphasizing their roles in changing the catastrophic view of biologic and geologic history to one less dependent on strict Biblical literalism. He also notes that room was made for Genesis to be compatible with new findings in the earth sciences - especially those of deep time and the succession of life forms in the past. Here he incorporates the work of William Buckland, Richard Owen, Gideon Mantell, Adam Sedgwick, James Hutton and most important to Charles Darwin, the uniformitarian geologist Charles Lyell.

After describing a few pre-Darwinian evolutionary theories (Etienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Robert Chambers and Lamarck), Darwin comes into the narrative. Despite that other theories of evolution existed before Darwin, his theory of evolution provided a mechanism for change while others did not. This mechanism Darwin realized when reading Malthus' _Essay on the Principle of Population_, and Larson points out that "essential to Darwin's concept was a modern worldview influenced by ideas of utilitarianism, individualism, imperialism, and laissez-faire capitalism" (p. 70). To Larson there is no doubt that Darwin placed ideals of human society in eighteenth century industrial Britain onto the animal and plant kingdoms. Alfred Russel Wallace's independent contribution to natural selection is also explored and given due credit.

In the following chapters, Larson describes both problems and successes of Darwin's evolutionary theories, and throughout provides many short biographies. Thomas Henry Huxley is given plenty of pages in discussing his efforts in defending Darwin's idea, while other evolutionists are described as relying on other theories and not natural selection (such as mutation theory, saltation and even ones that call God into the mechanism). Larson describes the eclipse of Darwinism (although he does not refer to Bowler's work) that occurred where many evolutionists began to accept a Lamarckian theory of evolution. One reason this occurred was that with Darwinian theory, heredity could not be explained. Chapters 7 and 10 provide the history of Mendelian genetics and its merge with natural selection, known today as the Modern Synthesis.

The rest of the book explores varied topics from the search for missing links in the fossil record to early twentieth century American fundamentalism and the Scopes Monkey Trial to more modern day debates about teaching evolution or creation in public schools (creation science and intelligent design). Probably one of the best chapters, both for its detail and its look at the negative side of social applications of evolutionary theory, describes eugenics and social Darwinism. As Stephen Jay Gould has noted, eugenics is "the most troubling field of interaction between science and society." Larson shows how Darwin's theory of evolution along with theories of heredity and genetics were used to justify the attempts in America (and almost success in Germany) to breed out undesirable people from the population. In Britain, where Darwin's cousin Sir Francis Galton coined "eugenics," the application of the new science was in a positive tone - that is, encouragement of the best people to breed. Negative eugenics is a harsh and, through much recent research, not forgotten moment in America's past. To place that in a book about the "remarkable history of an idea" serves well to show that science and society are linked, and Larson provides many other examples in his book.

Although a little book packed with an enormous amount of information, it does in a few places omit some important details. Charles Darwin is too often referred to as the Beagle's naturalist, when in fact the ship had a hired naturalist and Darwin was brought on as a gentlemen companion to Captain Fitzroy.Larson refers to Darwin as Fitzroy's "gentleman naturalist." When Francis and Crick discovered the double helix structure of DNA in the mid-twentieth century, the work of Rosalind Franklin was left in shadows. It is now known that Franklin's work led greatly to Francis and Crick's success (and Nobel Prize). Absent from Larson's book, it will be some time before the "Francis and Crick" so often mentioned becomes "Francis, Crick and Franklin."

Edward J. Larson's _Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory_ is a wonderful compact book that does well to relate the social, cultural and political forces at work through the past two centuries of evolutionary thought. It is simple and broad, and Larson's non-scientific prose adds to it being a great book for an introduction to Darwin, evolutionary theories, and the conflicts and successes the idea of evolution has endured.

[I wrote this review for an undergraduate history of science course in 2005]

4-0 out of 5 stars very good, if somewhat light, history of evolution
This is a well written, and relatively brief account of the
history of the theory of evolution.It starts with an overview
of related theories before Darwin.While Darwin certainly
plays a central role, the book quickly moves on to the early
20th century when evolution really became a scientific theory
(this may be incorrect, but it seems to be implied in the
account).While the account up to about the 70s is fascinating,
I think that it petered out after that.The developments
of the last 30 years are probably much harder to give justice in
a popular book, but I still think a better effort could have been

This is certainly an enjoyable book that will give you some insights
on the fascinating history of evolutionary theory.However, you
should plan to complement it with something that provides
a good account of the more recent developments.

4-0 out of 5 stars Detailed history of an important theory
Larson's book is a thorough survey of the figures of history who contributed to the theory of evolution.From 18th century French naturalist Cuvier to modern British biologist Dawkins, this volume details the story and impact of those men, often delving into the religious implications of scientific findings, but focusing on the concepts of evolution itself.While the description of those concepts are sufficient, they aren't exactly stimulating, but the background anecdotes on each contributor give the book color enough.The book is a fascinating look at psychology and sociology as much as biology and would be a good introduction for even theologists due to its fairly subjective nature.
... Read more

22. Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny and Evolution (Oxford Biology)
by Alessandro Minelli
Paperback: 336 Pages (2009-02-15)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$51.61
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Asin: 0198566212
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Animal phylogeny is undergoing a major revolution due to the availability of an exponentially increasing amount of molecular data and the application of novel methods of phylogenetic reconstruction, as well as the many spectacular advances in palaeontology and molecular developmental biology, or 'evo-devo', has offered new insights into the origin and evolvability of major traits of animal architecture and life cycle. All these developments call for a revised interpretation of the pathways along which animal structure and development has evolved since the origin of the Metazoa.

Perspectives in Animal Phylogeny and Evolution takes on this challenge, successfully integrating morphological, fossil and molecular evidence to produce a novel reinterpretation of animal evolution. Central to the book's approach is an 'evo-devo' perspective on animal evolution (with all the fresh insights this has given into the origin of animal organization and life cycles), complementary to the more traditional perspectives of pattern (cladistics, comparative anatomy and embryology), mechanisms (developmental biology) and adaptation (evolutionary biology). The author advocates the need to approach the study of animal evolution with a critical attitude towards many key concepts of comparative morphology and developmental biology. Particular attention in the book is paid to the evolution of life cycles and larval forms.

This accessible text is suitable for graduate students taking advanced courses in evolutionary developmental biology, invertebrate zoology, molecular phylogenetics and palaeontology, as well as professional researchers in these fields requiring an authoritative and up-to-date overview of this dynamic topic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars just the facts
I completely disagree with the previous review. This book is a concise summary of the current literature in the realm of animal phylogeny and evolution. Although terse, it does not lack in recognizing often ignored clades, and I find it to be an excellent resource for easily locating citations that might otherwise go unnoticed. This book was not meant to be one author's cohesive story or idea about animal evolution; it is a review of the current state of research. As such, I appreciate that the book allows one to draw their own conclusions...afterall, the origin and evolution of animals continues to be one of the most remarkable mysteries in all of biology.

1-0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointing
the title sounded extremely promising, but it turns out to be a rehash of most of already-available material presented in a not very interesting fashion. ... Read more

23. Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God
by Greg Graffin, Steve Olson
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$22.99 -- used & new: US$14.65
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Asin: 0061828505
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Most people know Greg Graffin as the lead singer of the punk band Bad Religion, but few know that he also received a PhD from Cornell University and teaches evolution at the University of California at Los Angeles. In Anarchy Evolution, Graffin argues that art and science have a deep connection. As an adolescent growing up when "drugs, sex, and trouble could be had on any given night," Graffin discovered that the study of evolution provided a framework through which he could make sense of the world.

In this provocative and personal book, he describes his own coming of age as an artist and the formation of his naturalist worldview on questions involving God, science, and human existence. While the battle between religion and science is often displayed in the starkest of terms, Anarchy Evolution provides fresh and nuanced insights into the long-standing debate about atheism and the human condition. It is a book for anyone who has ever wondered if God really exists.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars I believe in re-evolution
first of all, is very hard for me to do a review for this book, because still i'm reading it LOL, and second 'cause i'm latin american, and it's my first book that i'm reading on english.
i've read "Manifiesto Punk" of Greg and he said everithing the same that i think about punk, (culture, moda, thinking, etc).
Now, with "Anarchy Evolution" i've found the same. I think that Greg, besides punk singer and scientist, is a big social philosopher.
Absolutely recommended!

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful, Inspirational, Captivating
First off let me say, I have been a Greg Graffin/Bad Religion fan since I was in Kindergarten. Brought up and have lived in the punk scene for as long as I can remember. The problem with the punk seen in general is that the lifestyle is full a self destructive nature that is very hard to escape from. Inspired by the depth of the lyrics if Bad Religion, I began studying the band only to find out that they were not your typical punk band, Dr. Griffin was an educated man that could balance the life of a punk rocker as well as the life of a professional. This made me realize, what is the ultimate defiance of a punk rocker? It is success. I achieved my Masters Degree and continue loving the roots of my inspiration.

I loved the book because it gave me great insight into the man that has inspired me throughout my life. Seeing the struggles that he went though, the items that inspired him, seeing the human aspect of a person that I would consider one of my greatest influences in life. The greatest gift humanity has is the ability to question everything and find truth through observation, experience, and the anarchy life presents us with. This book is this journey, definitely worth reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars The naturalistic worldview of a punk rock professor
Great, easy to read book is an evolutionary primer as well as a memoir of a punk rock legend. For fans of Bad Religion (obviously) and those interested in evolution and atheism.

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Greg for ChuckPalahniuk.net. We spoke about everything from music to the new book to evolution to the existence of god. He gives a great interview.


5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Having been a Bad Religion fan for about 16 years, Greg Graffin draws great parallels to his career as a scientist and a musician. He shows that it doesn't have to be all spikes, combat boots and leather to help change and influence the world we live in a positive manner. Thinking for yourself and asking tough questions. Truly anti-authoritarian.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evolution for Punk Philosophers
What made this book such an interesting read is that Greg Graffin was able to intertwine a lesson on evolution with the story of his life. The main appeal to punk rock to me has been the angry response to authority. I have also enjoyed the spontaneous order and surprising politeness (with the exception of one concert) that would emerge from mosh pits at Bad Religion concerts. Punk rock spoke to the side of me that rabidly pursues truth. Greg also seems to have this same view about science and punk rock, which was exactly what I was hoping for from this book. Although he does not go into his personal politics in any part of the book, he does explain the beauty behind the anarchy of evolution. The natural order in evolution that arises out of seeming chaos, free of rules and only regulated by reality speaks deeply to a philosopher like me. ... Read more

24. An Introduction to Methods and Models in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology
Paperback: 288 Pages (2010-01-24)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.21
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Asin: 0691127247
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This unique textbook introduces undergraduate students to quantitative models and methods in ecology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation. It explores the core concepts shared by these related fields using tools and practical skills such as experimental design, generating phylogenies, basic statistical inference, and persuasive grant writing. And contributors use examples from their own cutting-edge research, providing diverse views to engage students and broaden their understanding.

This is the only textbook on the subject featuring a collaborative "active learning" approach that emphasizes hands-on learning. Every chapter has exercises that enable students to work directly with the material at their own pace and in small groups. Each problem includes data presented in a rich array of formats, which students use to answer questions that illustrate patterns, principles, and methods. Topics range from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and population effective size to optimal foraging and indices of biodiversity. The book also includes a comprehensive glossary.

In addition to the editors, the contributors are James Beck, Cawas Behram Engineer, John Gaskin, Luke Harmon, Jon Hess, Jason Kolbe, Kenneth H. Kozak, Robert J. Robertson, Emily Silverman, Beth Sparks-Jackson, and Anton Weisstein.

Provides experience with hypothesis testing, experimental design, and scientific reasoning Covers core quantitative models and methods in ecology, behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation Turns "discussion sections" into "thinking labs" Restricted instructor's manual also available ... Read more

25. Compositional Evolution: The Impact of Sex, Symbiosis, and Modularity on the Gradualist Framework of Evolution (Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology)
by Richard A. Watson
Hardcover: 344 Pages (2006-02-17)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$4.97
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Asin: 026223243X
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No biological concept has had greater impact on the way we view ourselves and the world around us than the theory of evolution by natural selection. Darwin's masterful contribution was to provide an algorithmic model (a formal step-by-step procedure) of how adaptation may take place in biological systems. However, the simple process of linear incremental improvement that he described is only one algorithmic possibility, and certain biological phenomena provide the possibility of implementing alternative processes. In Compositional Evolution, Richard Watson uses the tools of computer science and computational biology to show that certain mechanisms of genetic variation (such as sex, gene transfer, and symbiosis) allowing the combination of preadapted genetic material enable an evolutionary process, compositional evolution, that is algorithmically distinct from the Darwinian gradualist framework.

After reviewing the gradualist framework of evolution and outlining the analogous principles at work in evolutionary computation, Watson describes the compositional mechanisms of evolutionary biology and provides computational models that illustrate his argument. He uses models such as the genetic algorithm as well as novel models to explore different evolutionary scenarios, comparing evolution based on spontaneous point mutation, sexual recombination, and symbiotic encapsulation. He shows that the models of sex and symbiosis are algorithmically distinct from simpler stochastic optimization methods based on gradual processes. Finally, Watson discusses the impact of compositional evolution on our understanding of natural evolution and, similarly, the utility of evolutionary computation methods for problem solving and design. ... Read more

26. The Origin and Evolution of Mammals (Oxford Biology)
by T. S. Kemp
Paperback: 342 Pages (2005-01-27)
list price: US$105.00 -- used & new: US$74.01
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Asin: 0198507615
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Mammals are the dominant large animals of today, occurring in virtually every environment. This book is an account of the remarkable fossil records that document their origin since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Tracing their evolution over the last 35 million years. For the first time presented in one single volume Kemp unveils the exciting DNA sequence evidence which coupled with fossil evidence challenges current thinking on the relationships amongst mammal and their inferred history.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but very high level
Make no mistake, this is a book by an expert for experts.Without a solid background in skeletal and dental anatomy, most of the content of this book will go over the reader's head.That said, for those with the background to understand, this is an excellent reference and introduction to the major themes of mammal evolution.

My favorite thing about this book is that it spends considerable ink on pre-mammalian synapsids and Mesozoic mammals.Most books on mammal evolution seem to pick up the tale at the K-T boundary, ignoring most of the story.The discussion of early mammals and pre-mammals is fantastic, and the author presents thought-provoking hypotheses for the evolution of key mammalian characteristics.

This book probably fits into a fairly narrow niche of readers, but for those readers, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mammals and their kin
Tom Kemp's book provides a superb, well-written overview of the diversity and evolutionary history of synapsids, the group including mammals. The origin of mammals is now one of the best-documented evolutionary transitions in the fossil record. A leading investigator on this subject, Kemp reviews the numerous changes in features of the skull and postcranial skeleton during this major transition and interprets these changes in functional terms. This is a particularly valuable aspect of Kemp's book. His review of mammalian diversity is an excellent synopsis of the many new data gathered in recent years and is presented within the framework of a phylogenetically based classification. It thus supercedes earlier, outdated treatments of this subject. I definitely recommend Kemp's book for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. The book also includes an excellent, comprehensive bibliography, which will allow the reader to pursue topics of interest in greater depth. My only criticism is the quality of a number of illustrations; on quite a few figures, lines have faded or vanished during reproduction, and, in a few instances, illustration scans have been greatly distorted during printing. However, these are minor quibbles that do not distract from the overall quality of this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars A staid performance
This is a major reference book, presumably essential for a specialist but I found that it assumed too much prior knowledge and was totally wedded to the dogma of cladism making it difficult to work out the status of the groups described.I also found that in the references, giants like Alfred Sherwood Romer or for that matter, authors on mammal evolution like Derek Yalden scarecely get a mention.

It should perhaps be retitled the origin and evolution of amniotes leading to the mammals given that about half the book deals with mammal like reptiles.Some of this treatment would be essential but there was far too much on basal tetrapods.When it came to even these, there was no real fire about really interesting organisms like Dimetrodon, or any particular story to light the mind given that as a scientist Kemp is cautious.

The weak classification provided is my main problem with the book.Given that so many of the taxa are unranked in classical cladistic fashion, you don't really know what you are dealing with - whereas the traditional orders of mammals are described as such, supraordinal and subordinal taxa are difficult to make out in the context of rank or major grouping.You end up with hierarchical lists and have to try and work out a great deal of it yourself.I'd find the classification of Benton from Bristol (another major author in the field) far more useful and user friendly.

There is no great enthusiasm shown for any of the scenarios or organisms/taxa in question (except some early amphibians and amniotes) and the illustrations could have been more informative.Kemp argues that the collision of India with Asia could have happened earlier than the Eocene but offers little justification.The contribution of Indian mammals if any from the Cretaceous period is alleged but the discussion is uncritical in the light of violent vulcanism on the subcontinent during the KT boundary.

Sorry, but I would have preferred Romer (VP and evolution) or Carroll's update of Romer.I'd really like a similar book on slightly more traditional lines and hope it turns up.In the meantime, this remains a reference for citing purposes. ... Read more

27. The Cichlid Fishes of the Great Lakes of Africa: Their Biology and Evolution.
by Geoffrey. Fryer
 Hardcover: 641 Pages (1972-07)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$49.97
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Asin: 0876660308
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28. Science and Selection: Essays on Biological Evolution and the Philosophy of Science (Cambridge Studies in Philosophy and Biology)
by David L. Hull
Paperback: 288 Pages (2000-11-13)
list price: US$31.99 -- used & new: US$10.98
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Asin: 0521644054
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One way to understand science is as a selection process. David Hull, one of the dominant figures in contemporary philosophy of science, sets out in this volume a general analysis of this selection process that applies equally to biological evolution, the reaction of the immune system to antigens, operant learning, and social and conceptual change in science.Science and Selection brings together many of Hull's most important essays on selection (some never before published) in one accessible volume. ... Read more

29. Evolution
by Nicholas H. Barton, Derek E. G. Briggs, Jonathan A. Eisen, David B. Goldstein, Nipam H. Patel
Hardcover: 833 Pages (2007-06-30)
list price: US$110.00 -- used & new: US$74.25
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Asin: 0879696842
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Evolution is a new book on evolutionary biology that elegantly synthesizes traditional evolutionary theories with contemporary concepts from genomics, developmental biology, human genetics, and other areas of molecular biology. As an innovative, interdisciplinary, and thoroughly integrated book on evolutionary biology with world-renowned author, Evolution thoroughly illuminates this major paradigm of modern science. Evolutionary principles are introduced with examples from across the spectrum of life - from ''jumping genes'' to RNA molecules, to populations of yeast and E. coli reared in the laboratory, to dung flies, lizards, and deer in their natural habitats. A section is also devoted to human evolution and diversity, merging recent insights from molecular techniques with paleontological evidence. Evolution is recommended as a primary textbook for undergraduate courses in evolution as well as for biologists seeking a clear, current, and comprehensive account of evolutionary theory and mechansms. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Sadly, not a very good book
At first glance, the book is fantastic. Only when you start reading it, you discover that it is too unwieldy and tries to accomplish too much. Authors decided not to choose any particular knowledge level for their audience, but instead cover a lot of ground very quickly. The learning curve in this book is extremely steep! This is a book that will take you from description of molecular nature of DNA all the way to such complex concepts as average fitness excess and beyond. Unfortunately, this means that explanations are brief and many things are given as a fact of the matter, without proper explanations of their origins and/or importance. It also means that if you are like me, a scientist with quite a decent knowledge of biology and evolution, then for 80% of this book you will be bored, for 10% you will have no clue what the authors are talking about, and only 10% will be of any reasonable interest to you. In the end, the book is just not fun to read. Very disappointing...

5-0 out of 5 stars Intellectual, stimulating, fascinating, revealing; a must have for those who must know what Life really is.
I'm not a Molecular Biologist or an Evolutionary Scientist by profession. So I think my friend who loaned me this book was a bit surprised when I asked if I can borrow the book from her. It is after all a text book for students in extremely specialized field(s). The thing about this book is that you don't have to be in a specialized field to be reading it. It is for anyone who has ever wondered about life on earth, how it evolved, time scales involved in the evolutionary journey, various stages of evolution, different mechanisms life has employed to adapt, etc. etc. It is a fascinating work built upon the original idea proposed by Charles Darwin himself in "On the origin of species", with theories that have since been proven to be facts, and more in depth knowledge about the subject than any other book of its kind out there. This book will literally take you through the tree of life, with wonderful illustrations, and have you thinking about Life like you've never thought before. This book will make you feel connected to the Universe and every life form that has ever existed on the Earth and you can't help but feel both immortal yet insignificant. The particles in your body have been around for an eternity, and will be around long after you're gone. You're part of the Universe and the Universe is a part of you. I'm very fortunate to have had the chance to read this book. It is now part of my collection of books and I highly recommend it to all the curious minds out there. ... Read more

30. Ecology and Evolution of Parasitism: Hosts to Ecosystems (Oxford Biology)
Paperback: 240 Pages (2009-02-15)
list price: US$70.00 -- used & new: US$55.43
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Asin: 0199535337
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Is it possible to omit parasites when studying free-living organisms? The answer is clearly no! Parasites have evolved independently in numerous animal lineages, and now make up a considerable proportion of the biodiversity of life. Ecologists, epidemiologists, conservationists and evolutionary biologists are increasingly aware of the universal significance of parasites to the study of ecology and evolution where they have become a powerful model system. This book provides a summary of the issues involved as well as an overview of the possibilities offered by this research topic including the practical applications for disease prevention. It uses well-documented case-studies across a range of scales to illustrate the main trends and prospects in this area, outlining areas for future research.

Ecology and Evolution of Parasitism is the first book to provide a broad synthesis of both the roles and consequences of pathogens on the ecology and evolution of free living systems. It focuses on hosts rather than the parasites themselves, integrating those aspects related to the ecology and the evolution of free-living species (sexual selection, behaviour, life history traits, regulation of populations etc.). The book includes examples across a range of scales from individuals to populations, communities and ecosystems. ... Read more

31. Dictyostelium: Evolution, Cell Biology, and the Development of Multicellularity (Developmental and Cell Biology Series)
by Richard H. Kessin
Paperback: 318 Pages (2010-08-05)
list price: US$39.99 -- used & new: US$35.96
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Asin: 0521152828
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The Dictyostelia are soil amoebae capable of extraordinary feats of survival, motility, chemotaxis, and development. Known as the "social amoebae," these organisms have been the subjects of serious study since the 1930s. Research in this area has been instrumental in shaping general views of differentiation, morphogenesis, and communication. Beginning with the history of Dictyostelids, this book considers the problems of the evolution of this multicellular organism. Characterized by its ability to transform from a single-celled organism into an elaborate assemblage of thousands of synchronously-moving cells, each stage of its development is treated in a separate chapter. The special properties of the Dictyostelid genome are rigorously analyzed, and the methods available to manipulate genes are presented in detail. Research techniques that enable many cell biology problems to be approached in studying the organism are also presented. Throughout, the emphasis is on combining classical experiments with modern molecular findings. ... Read more

32. Evolution, Second Edition
by Douglas Futuyma
Hardcover: 545 Pages (2009-04-06)
list price: US$112.95 -- used & new: US$69.65
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Asin: 0878932232
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Evolution, Second Edition is a comprehensive treatment of contemporary evolutionary biology that is directed toward an undergraduate audience. It addresses major themes including the history of evolution, evolutionary processes, adaptation, and evolution as an explanatory framework at levels of biological organization ranging from genomes to ecological communities. Throughout, the text emphasizes the interplay between theory and empirical tests of hypotheses, thus acquainting students with the process of science. Teachers and students will find the list of important concepts and terms in each chapter a helpful guide, and will appreciate the dynamic figures and lively photographs. The content of all chapters has been updated. Contributors Scott V. Edwards and John R. True have once again provided authoritative chapters on, respectively, Evolution of Genes and Genomes and Evolution and Development, two of the most rapidly developing subjects in evolutionary biology. A final chapter on Evolutionary Science and Creationism treats such topics as the nature of science and the practical applications of evolutionary biology. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Biology Textbook
I found this book informative and engaging. Futuyma covers a wide breadth of biology and provides case studies and recent research to illustrate his points.

Also, I found the loose-leaf version useful. It was slightly cheaper, and I was able to split it up in a 3-ring binder so I could read the portions I needed wherever I was at the time. However, be aware that the pages can become crumpled because there is _literally_ no binding, just 3 holes on the left-side margin. I was surprised when I received the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars So far, So extremely good
I'm a senior in biology, and have been using this book for my evolution class.Well, not much can be said other than it's great.Well written, good use of the technical language, very nice examples, etc, etc, etc...

4-0 out of 5 stars cheap and nice
Great book. Just a little easier to get teared when you put it into the binder.

5-0 out of 5 stars great product
Buyer easy to contact, flexible and helpful. Product received in good time and in great condition

4-0 out of 5 stars Great
The book came a lot sooner than what i thought it would and it was in great condition. ... Read more

33. Statistical Methods in Molecular Evolution (Statistics for Biology and Health)
Paperback: 508 Pages (2010-11-02)
list price: US$124.00 -- used & new: US$98.83
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Asin: 1441919724
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In the field of molecular evolution, inferences about past evolutionary events are made using molecular data from currently living species. With the availability of genomic data from multiple related species, molecular evolution has become one of the most active and fastest growing fields of study in genomics and bioinformatics.

Most studies in molecular evolution rely heavily on statistical procedures based on stochastic process modelling and advanced computational methods including high-dimensional numerical optimization and Markov Chain Monte Carlo. This book provides an overview of the statistical theory and methods used in studies of molecular evolution. It includes an introductory section suitable for readers that are new to the field, a section discussing practical methods for data analysis, and more specialized sections discussing specific models and addressing statistical issues relating to estimation and model choice. The chapters are written by the leaders of field and they will take the reader from basic introductory material to the state-of-the-art statistical methods.

This book is suitable for statisticians seeking to learn more about applications in molecular evolution and molecular evolutionary biologists with an interest in learning more about the theory behind the statistical methods applied in the field. The chapters of the book assume no advanced mathematical skills beyond basic calculus, although familiarity with basic probability theory will help the reader. Most relevant statistical concepts are introduced in the book in the context of their application in molecular evolution, and the book should be accessible for most biology graduate students with an interest in quantitative methods and theory.

Rasmus Nielsen received his Ph.D. form the University of California at Berkeley in 1998 and after a postdoc at Harvard University, he assumed a faculty position in Statistical Genomics at Cornell University. He is currently an Ole Rømer Fellow at the University of Copenhagen and holds a Sloan Research Fellowship. His is an associate editor of the Journal of Molecular Evolution and has published more than fifty original papers in peer-reviewed journals on the topic of this book.

From the reviews:

"...Overall this is a very useful book in an area of increasing importance."  Journal of the Royal Statistical Society

"I find Statistical Methods in Molecular Evolution very interesting and useful. It delves into problems that were considered very difficult just several years ago...the book is likely to stimulate the interest of statisticians that are unaware of this exciting field of applications. It is my hope that it will also help the 'wet lab' molecular evolutionist to better understand mathematical and statistical methods." Marek Kimmel for the Journal of the American Statistical Association, September 2006

"Who should read this book? We suggest that anyone who deals with molecular data (who does not?) and anyone who asks evolutionary questions (who should not?) ought to consult the relevant chapters in this book." Dan Graur and Dror Berel for Biometrics, September 2006

"Coalescence theory facilitates the merger of population genetics theory with phylogenetic approaches, but still, there are mostly two camps: phylogeneticists and population geneticists. Only a few people are moving freely between them. Rasmus Nielsen is certainly one of these researchers, and his work so far has merged many population genetic and phylogenetic aspects of biological research under the umbrella of molecular evolution. Although Nielsen did not contribute a chapter to his book, his work permeates all its chapters. This book gives an overview of his interests and current achievements in molecular evolution. In short, this book should be on your bookshelf." Peter Beerli for Evolution, 60(2), 2006

... Read more

34. Information Theory, Evolution, and The Origin of Life
by Hubert P. Yockey
Hardcover: 272 Pages (2005-04-18)
list price: US$79.00 -- used & new: US$39.70
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Asin: 0521802938
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life presents a timely introduction to the use of information theory and coding theory in molecular biology. The genetical information system, because it is linear and digital, resembles the algorithmic language of computers. George Gamow pointed out that the application of Shannon's information theory breaks genetics and molecular biology out of the descriptive mode into the quantitative mode and Dr Yockey develops this theme, discussing how information theory and coding theory can be applied to molecular biology. He discusses how these tools for measuring the information in the sequences of the genome and the proteome are essential for our complete understanding of the nature and origin of life. The author writes for the computer competent reader who is interested in evolution and the origins of life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

1-0 out of 5 stars Dogmatic
Hubert Yockey, in his book entitled "Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life", concludes that the Central Dogma proves that proteins can not have originated prior to the development of DNA/RNA. The Central Dogma originally stated by Crick was intended for the modern, studied living world to explain that information flows from DNA -> DNA, DNA -> RNA, RNA -> DNA, and RNA -> protein. This is based on the known mechanisms of transcription and reverse transcription etc. in modern forms of life that we have characterized to date. Yockey shows that because a codon includes three bases each with four possible types (ACGT) that there are 64 possible codes that represent the 20-22 possible amino acids in a sequence. The genetic code is redundant according to the argument so that it is impossible that DNA could arise from proteins. Yockey's ultimate conclusion is that DNA/RNA must have come before proteins and that the ultimate origin of life is unknowable. I find the argument naïve, most likely incorrect and essentially a DNA bias. If we can allow that the genetic code is redundant because of codons, we must acknowledge that in fact the genetic code is the product of complexes of proteins and are a consequence of these complexes. Each base is in fact metabolically constructed by sequences of proteins. It is entirely conceivable to construct new codes for unusual amino acids by altering the protein sequences, something that is being done today by biotechnology companies to generate new peptide based therapeutic drugs. So the information content of proteins is not just 20 amino acids but the trillions of proteins that can be generated through differing sequences which can produce unique catalytic reactions including generating new codes. In addition, the complexes of the proteins contain essential information, e.g., changing the sequence of metabolic reactions or the individual proteins. The protein information space is essentially unlimited and is much more redundant than the genetic code. It is true that the forms of life we characterize today utilize a process that is described by the Central Dogma but it is not true that this is necessarily the way it has always been especially during the origin of life. It has been shown by other scientists that the components of proteins, aminio acids and peptides are readily formed under the conditions of the early earth. On the other hand the bases, nucleic acids, are not formed in this way and are exceptionally unlikely to have existed before amino acids and peptides existed. I would turn Yockey's argument on its head and state that the protein space is so much more redundant that it surely originated prior to DNA/RNA.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. Yockey Scores Again!
This book, which is the long awaited follow-up to Information Theory and Molecular Biology, is another tour de force in a long history of such insights from Dr. Yockey.As the former head of the U.S. Government's Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Yockey has a demonstrated history of squashing austensibly scientific ideas that superficially make sense, but when given the acid test are found entirely wanting.This book is replete with such deconstructions and they are much needed as they pertain to the current origin of life debate.Let me cite a few examples:

Perhaps formost among them is the idea that life arose from some Urschleim (primeval slime).Not only does Yockey show that this theorycannot be true, he explains exactly why, using mathematical certainty.First, he shows, applying Information theory to Crick's Central Dogma, that because the flow of information can only pass from larger encoding alphabets to smaller ones, but not the other way around, it is impossible for the information which fills the genetic code to have proceded from proteins (the smaller alphabet) to DNA/RNA (the larger alphabet).Ergo, it is equally impossible for any proteins-first theory of life origin to be correct - simply on that basis.Because what matters is not so much the DNA itself, in the scheme of life's continued existence, but the information it contains!

Next, he offers what may be the best summation of evidence in print to show that there simply is no scientific basis whatsoever to conclude that anything like Darwin's "warm little pond" ever existed.But he goes much further, taking evidence from fossil records as to the nature of the earth's atmosphere during the time the Urschleim was presumed to exist, Yockey shows that it is simply not possible chemically for earth to have had the atmosphere that it did and for those ponds to exist.The upshot being, according to cellular biologist and Nobel Laureate Christian Du Duve, without those ponds, the chance of any natural origin of life is zero.

Another strength of the book is the facility with which he ties the procedural activities of the genome to information theory, specifically Shannon's Law.The importance here is his insight into the nature of codes.He begins by demonstrating that the genetic code, in its present optimal form, could not have had a natural origin simply because not enough time has existed since the beginning of the universe to allow for it's actuality strictly in terms of processing.

He furthers this with the following quote from one of his earlier works: "The calculations presented in this paper show that the origin of a rather accurate genetic code, not necessarily the modern one, is a pons asinorum that must be crossed to pass over the abyss that separates crystallography, high polymer chemistry and physics from biology.(Yockey, 1981, 1992)"Then quoting from the book directly thereafter, "The paradox is seldom mentioned that enzymes are required to define or generate the reaction network, and the network is required to synthesize the enzymes and their component amino acids.There is no trace in physics or chemistry of the control of chemical reactions by a sequence of any sort or of a code between sequences.Thus, when we make the distinction between the origin of the genetic code and its evolution, we find the origin of the genetic code is unknowable."

However, Yockey is not arguing for some kind of theistic event.In fact, he takes great pains later in the book to demonstrate that he does not support any theistic conclusion.From his perspective, while it is provably true, based on mathematical certainty, that the genetic code did not have a natural origin, because the universe has demonstrated no ability whatsoever to formulate any kind of code, let alone something as sophisticated as the genome, it cannot be assumed ipso facto that a supernatural event is the only other choice.Because there is no scientific evidence to support that possibility, Yockey is completely unwilling to postulate such, even in off-the-record conversations.

To further distance himself from any hint that he supports Intelligent Design (ID) with is work, he takes-on one of the icons of ID, Dr. Michael Behe, and his theory of Irreducible complexity (IR).The way in which he attempts to show that Behe's theory does not work is to formulate IR as a kind of Gordian Knot that, if Behe is correct, is not computable.Because he can show that Behe's model is computable, he believes he has shown Behe's theory to be incorrect in principle.

However, his complete misunderstanding of Behe's theory leads him todisprove something Behe did not theorize.Behe's IR does not refer to a mathematically unsolvable puzzle, but to a kind of engineering dilemma for which there is no functional step-wise construction.Mechanisms for which there is no gradual, step by step approach to their completion, where every single step is itself a working model, are termed Irreducibly Complex.In other words, IR refers to any mechanism wherein all the parts necessary for its function are similtaneously extant because no partial iteration of the mechanism will function in any way.

I would use the example of a car engine. There is a net of engine parts required for the engine to run.Below that net assembly of parts, the engine will neither start nor run, even in principle.So while an engine is constructed sequentially, none of those sequences, short of a complete engine, will function, as is required by Darwinian gradualism.

Behe uses a simpler example, the mouse trap.His theory states that if you remove any one of the simple parts, it is impossible for the trap to function.The net result of Behe's theory is that IR makes it impossible for any mechanism so possessed to evolve in a gradual way because all the parts have to be there at the start for the mechanism to work.On the other hand, Darwinian Gradualism requires that every step be not only an advancement in function, but a competitive advantage that allows the creature superior ability in the war for continued existence.

Though Yockey confuses Behe's theory with the mathematical version of irreducibly complexity, to his credit, as the aforementioned quote from his book, regarding the impossibility of a network creating enzymes when enzymes themselves must first exist to make the network creating enzymes work [a classic Catch 22], he recognizes the irreducibly complex problem to which Behe refers.As such, while he discusses the it in completely different terms, his own example recognizes, as Behe theorizes, that it is impossible for such mechanisms to come into existence by some natural means.

That little flap is however, of no consequence in the panarama of Yockey's book.Everything he has written on the subject of this book has become a must read for anyone who wants to be completely up to speed on the origin of life question.His original insights are powerful precisely because he goes beyond supposition and hypotheses cum theories, to show with the certainty of mathematical law, why some things cannot be.As a consequence, whenever amathematical biologists finally decide to stop arguing about matters that have already been definitively determined, and consult the wisdom and insights of one of a physicist who is one of the 20th century's great scientific minds, they will devour this book.
John Tomlinson, MA, CHt

5-0 out of 5 stars Information Theory as a Foundation of Biology
The previous book of Hubert P. Yockey, 'Information theory and molecular biology', published in 1992, was unfortunately out of print for many years. Publication of 'Information theory, evolution, and the origin of life' makes available much of its material. The scope of the new book has moreover been broadened to encompass the hot topics mentioned in the title.

The academic world is divided into narrow compartments, each having its own methods, language, habits and gurus. Communication between them is made difficult by the lack of a common language so they most often ignore each other. When a concept from one of them eventually penetrates another one, it often assumes a superficial form which leads to misunderstandings. Although this may sometimes be better than plain ignorance, it results in rooting prejudices wrongly believed to hold true in other disciplines, and they live long for lack of proper internal criticism. Yockey is at the antipodes of this parochial system. His life-long efforts have been intended to convince biologists that information theory, a discipline originating in communication engineering, is the proper tool for dealing with molecular biology, hence should be at the heart of biology as a whole. He possesses to a high degree the needed didactic talents, as well as an extreme rigor in vocabulary and reasoning. Not only Yockey transcends disciplinary barriers, but also the famous divide between the 'two cultures'. His extremely broad scholarship is not purely scientific, but also historical, philosophical and literary. All chapters of the book bear in epigraph quotations from poets as well as from scientists or philosophers of all times, always wonderfully relevant to the subject matter. Similarly, many excellent quotations pepper the text. Yockey obviously does not think that scientific rigor demands dullness. On the contrary, the book is written in a witty and often caustic style. It abounds with historical anecdotes and comments, often intended to rehabilitate forgotten authors of major concepts or discoveries and to denounce usurped fames (one may disagree with some abrupt judgements).

As an engineer, I am convinced that information theory is the proper tool for dealing with molecular biology. Indeed, genomes communicate the genetic message as sequences of symbols (that these symbols are molecules does not mean they are relevant to chemistry only), and information theory is precisely the science of communication by means of symbol sequences. As a mathematical science, its results consist of theorems which can be thought of as predetermined forms which need 'only' to be filled with biological matter. But Shannon, the founding father of information theory, warned us that this task is far from trivial: 'Seldom do more than a few of nature's secrets give way at one time. [...] A thorough understanding of the mathematical foundations and its communication application is surely a prerequisite to other applications. I personally believe that many of the concepts of information theory will prove useful in these other fields [i.e., social sciences] but the establishing of such applications is not a trivial matter of translating words to a new domain, but rather the slow tedious process of hypothesis and experimental verification.' (from 'The Bandwagon', 1956, in 'Claude Elwood Shannon collected papers', edited by N.J.A. Sloane and A.D. Wyner, IEEE Press, 1993, page 462). Although Shannon made these comments about social sciences, I think that they perfectly apply to biology. Yockey's efforts are precisely aimed at letting biologists understand how relevant and potentially rewarding to their discipline is information theory.

Besides it presents compelling arguments in favor of the use of information theory in biology, the book also considers biological evolution and the origin of life. Since the genome is the medium which transmits the hereditary information through time, information theory is relevant to evolution just as it is to genetics. The book also critically reviews the many scientific and philosophical hypotheses about the origin of life, and shows that none of the alleged scenarios is likely to properly describe the events that actually occurred. The origin of life may well remain unknowable. Similarly, the mathematicians know since Gödel that propositions may be undecidable so, within a given system of axioms, it may be impossible to prove true results. The algorithmic information theory explains why it is so in a surprisingly simple manner: it results from the necessarily finite amount of available information. That the origin of life may remain a mystery forever is the bad news of the book. The good news is that information theory enables dealing with life phenomena by 'measuring, counting and weighting together with reasonings from postulates or axioms', a sentence which is quoted from Socrates at the very beginning of the book. Using information theory, biology can thus reach the status of a quantitative science. Biologists did not yet realize their luck, however. The book bears in epigraph a quotation from Niccolo Machiavelli who very lucidly states how difficult and dangerous it is to '[...] initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has ennemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order'. Yockey's extraordinary book leaves by no means its reader lukewarm and is in itself a big step towards the new order. Although it is mainly intended to biologists, this book can be fruitful to the general reader who is interested in evolution and the origin of life. There are somewhat technical developments, in either information theory or molecular biology, but they are few and can be skipped. An appendix dealing with information theory, a glossary and an index are provided to help the reader.

Gerard Battail

5-0 out of 5 stars Explaining Evolution in Terms of Digital Information Flow
This book has the very ambitious task of introducing the general reader to the current thinking regarding evolution, the origin of life on Earth, and the question of life on Mars, Europa and elsewhere in the universe.

Dr. Yockey shows that DNA is the genetic information system that compares in almost every aspect with digital data manipulation. DNA represents a code, a program if you will in computer terms that directs life. It also provides for the replication of life, and its evolution into changing forms over time.

The book is aimed at the non-specialist. It is not a text, but a kind of narrative history of significant developments in biology at a fundamental level. There is some mathematics in the book, but it is not a requirement that this be totally understood. The math serves as a proof of the statements he is making.

The book includes a chapter 'Does evolution need an intelligent designer?' This has caused some 'intelligent designers' to use Dr. Yockey's work in support of their argument.

Dr. Yockey concludes however, that there are some things that we just don't know and that: 'The fact that there are many things unavailable to human knowledge and reasoning, even in mathematics, does not mean that there must be an Intelligent Designer.'

This is a very enjoyable book to read. It is well written and clearly shows an intelligent approach to the problem.

3-0 out of 5 stars Until Amazon removes them...
Readers should note that the two reviews below dated 1999 and 1998 are for Yockey's 1992 book, not this 2005 one. Once Amazon deletes those reviews, Amazon can delete this one as well. ... Read more

35. Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating
by Leslie Brunetta, Catherine L. Craig
Hardcover: 248 Pages (2010-06-08)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$18.81
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Asin: 0300149220
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Spiders, objects of eternal human fascination, are found in many places: on the ground, in the air, and even under water. Leslie Brunetta and Catherine Craig have teamed up to produce a substantive yet entertaining book for anyone who has ever wondered, as a spider rappelled out of reach on a line of silk, “How do they do that?”

The orb web, that iconic wheel-shaped web most of us associate with spiders, contains at least four different silk proteins, each performing a different function and all meshing together to create a fly-catching machine that has amazed and inspired humans through the ages. Brunetta and Craig tell the intriguing story of how spiders evolved over 400 million years to add new silks and new uses for silk to their survival “toolkit” and, in the telling, take readers far beyond the orb. The authors describe the trials and triumphs of spiders as they use silk to negotiate an ever-changing environment, and they show how natural selection acts at the genetic level and as individuals struggle for survival.
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5-0 out of 5 stars Viewing Evolution Through the Silk from Spiders
Spiders have terrible reputations.They are blamed (sometimes without reason) for bites to humans and even for human deaths, although such occurrences are rare.But they really do us almost nothing but good, because they keep down the insect populations that would otherwise really bother us.They are also being spotlighted as guides to the mechanics of evolution.That role is highlighted in _Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating_ (Yale University Press) by Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig.The former is a freelance writer and the latter is an evolutionary biologist who is an authority on silk.Their book is fine as a primer on what spiders do with silk (it isn't just webs), and every chapter has amazing facts about spider behavior or the different properties of the different silks they make.Best of all, though, is that the book gives an arachnologist's-eye-view of evolution, summarizing the ideas of Darwin (and Wallace), Mendel, and even E. B. White (who did a surprising amount of research on spiders and webs for _Charlotte's Web_).It would be an advantage to have some acquaintance with evolution and chromosomes before going to this book, as the introductions to big topics like gene duplication are brisk.Nonetheless, there is surprising light thrown onto many topics via the studies of spiders and especially of their silks, and the authors display throughout good humor and a keen ability to make specialty topics plain.

One of the fascinating parts of this book is that it shows that the radial web is no such pinnacle.We like those orb webs; they are pretty, and appeal to our senses of symmetry and geometricbull's-eye precision.They are also so obviously practical.But we mustn't let such feelings make orb webs into something they are not.Not only did the first spiders not use silk to make such things, most spiders these days do not do so.One reason we think orb-weavers are so prevalent is that they make their webs out in the open, but most spiders are more covert.Trapdoor spiders line burrows with silk and make their trapdoors with it.Purse-web spiders spin a sort of sack that just lies on the ground until an insect walks across it; then the spider from the interior of the sack impales the insect through the sack and pulls it in.The jumping spiders are the biggest of the spider families, and they might spin cocoon-like pockets for homes but generally don't make anything like webs.They use a dragline of silk when they jump, to help control their approach angle onto the prey and to apply the brakes as they get near.The book concentrates on the lessons of evolution which spiders and their webs might teach us.Unlike more complicated physical characteristics, like a leg or an eye, silk protein is relatively simple, and is coded for in a relatively simple strand of the spider's DNA.The mistakes that the DNA copying system can make are simple, too, like adding a long string of a particular amino acid in the middle of a silk strand.A change like that can mean improved strength or toughness, and with the change can come better webs, more captures, better odds of survival, and retention of the change in high numbers of descendants.The authors show how the codes at the crucial two ends of the silk gene remained almost the same, but the middle section was available for changes, changes that made different silks available to an individual spider, and different silks in different families.Spiders are one of the animal families that have evolved and changed a lot compared to other animals, and the ability of evolution simply to change the silks has directly resulted in evolutionary success.

Spider Silk is written with a sense of wonder and fun.The authors compare a spider sending an initial foundation line by means of wind to Philippe Petit sending a crossbow shot from one Twin Tower to another in 1974 so that its line could send over a tightrope for him to cross.They remind us that spiders rely on wind for this, wafting out a line from the spinnerets at the end of their abdomens.They cannot shoot crossbows or even shoot out silk as does Spiderman from his ingenious wrist-mounted web expeller which "... saves Spidey from the indignity of requiring a flap in the seat of his Superhero tights."The book is packed with interesting information about spiders and about evolution and biology in general.One of the vexed questions that it does not answer is the old puzzle of how spiders avoid being caught in their own webs.Arachnologists are still uncertain about this!It might be that spiders have special non-stick claws or non-stick oils on their feet, or they might tiptoe only on the radial threads that are not sticky, but no one knows for sure.It's comforting, somehow, to know that with all the arachnological erudition displayed in this volume, there are still basic mysteries to confront.
... Read more

36. The Evolution of Organ Systems (Oxford Biology)
by Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa
Paperback: 368 Pages (2007-10-18)
list price: US$104.99 -- used & new: US$61.91
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Asin: 0198566697
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Systematics has developed rapidly during the past two decades.A multitude of new methods and contributions from a diversity of biological fields including molecular genetics and developmental biology have provided a wealth of phylogenetic hypotheses, some confirming traditional views others contradicting them. Despite such inconsistencies, it is now possible to recognize robust regions of a 'tree of life' and also to identify problematic areas which have yet to be resolved. This is the first book to apply the current state of phylogeny to an evolutionary interpretation of animal organ systems and body architecture, providing alternative theories in those cases of continuing controversy.

Organs do not appear suddenly during evolution; instead they are composed of far simpler structures. In some cases it is even possible to trace particular molecules or physiological pathways as far back as pre-animal history. What emerges is a fascinating picture, showing how animals have combined ancestral and new elements in novel ways to form constantly changing responses to environmental requirements.

The Evolution of Organ Systems starts with a general overview of current animal phylogeny, followed by review of general body organization including symmetry, anteroposterior axis, dorsoventral axis, germ layers, segmentation, and skeletons. Subsequent chapters then provide a detailed description of the individual organ systems themselves - integument, musculature, nervous system, sensory organs, body cavities, excretory system, circulatory system, respiratory system, intestinal system, gonads and gametes.Generously illustrated throughout, this accessible text is suitable for both upper level undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in animal evolution, organogenesis, animal anatomy, zoology and systematics. It will also be a valuable reference tool for those professional researchers in these fields requiring an authoritative, balanced and up-to-date overview of the topic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must have zoology book
Andreas Schmidt-Rhaesa did an excellent job in writing this textbook. The idea of organizing the chapters in organ systems is innovative and very useful. One can realize that the author is an experienced teacher in zoology - its very well written and the numerous tables in which the type and structure of the organ systems in different animal taxa give a quick overview.
It combines all recent morphological studies and discussed them in the light of recent phylogenies. Always open minded, never dogmatic it gives a balanced view of common hypotheses about the evolution of the different organ systems.
I use this book nearly daily and I just have the paper back edition and think about getting the hardcover.
This book earns attention, its excellent as a reference and for teaching zoology.
Hopefully there will be a second edition!

5-0 out of 5 stars Peerlessly Detailed Survey of Comparative Morphology
If you're looking at this book, you probably already know what you're in for.This is a tremendously detailed text on comparative morphology that seeks to trace the origins of organ systems from the original metazoans on downward.Each chapter takes a separate organ system -- nervous, circulatory, excretory, and so forth -- and discusses how it is structured with respect to the phyla (ALL of the phyla).It then concludes with the author's analysis of the implications of the morphological discussion for evolution -- which features were original to a shared ancestor (thereby indicating relationships between the phyla), and which are instead likely just the product of convergent evolution.

Not being an introductory text, this book will probably be incomprehensible if you do not already know a fair bit about all the metazoan phyla and some of the competing theories regarding their origins and differentiation.But that being said, it's not overly complex otherwise, and is a very interesting read.The illustrations, moreover, are well done and plentiful.

If I had a criticism, it would be that the text gets a little dull and rote, mechanically following its organizational scheme without as many digressions and charming anecdotes as I'd like.But you can't have everything.There's really no other book out there in English, to my knowledge, that is as detailed on this subject.So if you are at all interested in comparative morphology of the phyla, this is the one for you. ... Read more

37. The Top 10 Myths About Evolution
by Cameron M. Smith, Charles Sullivan
Paperback: 200 Pages (2006-11)
list price: US$16.98 -- used & new: US$2.99
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Asin: 159102479X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Though the United States is the world leader in science and technology, many of its citizens display a shocking ignorance regarding basic scientific facts. Recent surveys have revealed that only about half of Americans realize that humans have never lived side by side with dinosaurs, and about the same number reject the idea that humans developed from earlier species of animals. This lack of knowledge in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution springs from a number of negative influences in contemporary society: poor secondary education in some regions of the country, misinformation in the mass media, and deliberate obfuscation by supporters of Creationism and Intelligent Design.

In this concise, accessible, "myth-buster’s handbook," educators Cameron M. Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is "just a theory," that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees, and six other popular but erroneous notions.

Smith and Sullivan’s reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

1-0 out of 5 stars A primer on mostly outdated or irrelevant myths with lots of bias thrown in for good measure
The authors have done a poor job representing aspects of both sides in the Creation/Evolution debate.

"Myth One: Survival of the Fittest" demolishes a myth about natural selection ("nature red in tooth and claw") that no informed Creationist believes about Evolution. Is the problem that too many Evolutionists still believe this?

"Myth Two: It's Just a Theory" built and burnt several straw men. A scientific theory, by definition, must be testable by repeatable observations and must be capable of being falsified if indeed it were false. A scientific theory can only attempt to explain processes and events that are presently occurring repeatedly within our observations. Creation and Evolution are attempts to explain the origin of the universe and its inhabitants. There were no human observers to the origin of the universe, the origin of life, or, as a matter of fact, to the origin of a single type of living organism. Neither Creation nor Evolution is a scientific theory - they are inferences based on circumstantial evidence.

"Myth Three: The Ladder of Progress" dispelled the myth that the Great Chain of Being indicates an overall direction for the advancement of evolution. If anyone believes this concept I would place most of the blame for that on those pictures that evolutionists draw to show supposed intermediate forms between one kind and another. The authors also spent time discussing the arms race between predator and prey, conflating the natural selection of advantageous genes with macroevolution.

"Myth Four: The Missing Link" again attacks Creationists for something they don't believe - that species are fixed and unchanging. Have the authors ever bothered to read Genesis where it states very clearly that creatures reproduce after their kind? Speciation is a testable and repeatable observation - changing from one kind into another is not.

"Myth Five: Evolution Is Random" may be the best of the "myth busters". They break Evolution down into its constituent parts: replication, variation and selection, and show that selection is not random. Regardless, none of these aspects can account for specific complexity and thus fail as evidence that an initial state of disorder can lead to ever increasing information content - contrary to their assertion that "the forces of evolution shape randomly varying populations into enormously complex and diverse ecosystems."

"Myth Six: People Come from Monkeys" takes a very long and winding road to show that humans are closer to apes than monkeys. Whoa, really?Glad they cleared that up!

"Myth Seven: Nature's Perfect Balance" attempts to show that there is no grand design keeping nature in perfect balance. Is this even an issue? Creationists might argue that there used to be perfect balance in nature for a brief time - before sin and decay entered the world - but there can be no defense of that position now other than to say that God is still in control of nature and guides it for His purposes.

"Myth Eight: Creationism Disproves Evolution" is probably the most disappointing chapter because it references several Creationist arguments that are decades old and have long since been supplanted. The authors also rely on evidence from the mythical geologic column (found uniform in only a handful of places on earth), archaeopteryx (since shown to be more recent than some fully formed bird species), and explain away huge discrepancies in radiometric dating methods by claiming unique environmental conditions when they have no certainty of any environment that supposedly existed millions of years ago.

"Myth Nine: Intelligent Design Is Science" puts forth a possible solution for irreducible complexity but without any evidence that the suggested mechanism has ever been observed. The authors falsely claim that there is no scientific controversy over evolution. They discuss some real philosophical problems for those in ID that arise from an attempt to find design without arguing for the Designer.

"Myth Ten: Evolution is Immoral" makes an excellent point that "natural" is not necessarily "good" but it does so without ever defining "good". Who's "good" is the right "good"? If "good" (as a moral judgment) is relative only to one's point of view, then the term is meaningless for conveying truth.

The authors have an obvious bias throughout the book that substantially detracts from what might otherwise have been a useful primer on some past and present myths about Evolution.

5-0 out of 5 stars What every religious person needs to read
Simple and concise. This little book explains a lot of common myths that are circulating thanks to ignorant pastors and priest and their brainwashed followers. So if you're a christian or some other faith and you have only the basic attention span , and you really want to know what the evidence says then I highly reccomend this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent introduction to Evolution
While this book's purpose is to deal with various myths about Evolution, it is actually the best introduction to the subject that I have found. If you don't know much about Evolution, you will get a good basic understanding. The book is fairly short and an easy read. I read it in a few days. Of the approximately 200 pages, maybe one third are notes. This is good for further reading but I felt that some information in the notes would have been better placed in the main text. I got this from the library but I enjoyed it so much, I plan to purchase a copy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent and very readable intro to evolution
"Misconceptions" would be a better word in the title than "myths," but no matter.I give this very readable book five stars because of its educational value.Reading this book is an excellent introduction to the basis and the ideas of Darwinian evolution, as well as providing talking points to refute the specious argument of creationists and "intelligent designers."

The first misconception is in the common interpretation of the phrase "the survival of the fittest."The Darwinian jungle is indeed a jungle (and a savannah, an ocean, a river, a desert, etc.), but the key to survival--being "fit" and successfully reproducing--usually has a lot less to do with how sharp your claws or how great your physical strength.Rather it has to do with how well you can make a living in the environment you find yourself in.Fitness implies such things as a good immune system, the ability to co-operate with other living things, perhaps the ability to eat a wide variety of foods, or an abundant food that will not disappear, and so on.Being able to kick butt big time is probably not a good example of fitness.

Second misconception: "It's just a theory."Yes, and a tiger is just a cat.Or, would you believe that it is very remotely possible that the earth is not round.Or, yes it is possible that only I exist and I am just dreaming up all this stuff.Actually, evolution is as much of an established fact as any theory can be.A theory, by the way, as used by scientists, isn't just an unproven idea.It is "a logical, tested, well-supported explanation for a great variety of facts."The "theory" of evolution is supported by the fossil record and the analysis of the DNA of living organisms.It is demonstrated in our lifetimes by the adaptation of microorganism such as disease bacteria.And perhaps even more importantly, its three main processes of replication, variation, and selection, remain the basis of biological understanding in a host of sciences from medicine to ecology.

Third: There is a ladder of progress (the "great chain of being") from the most primitive to the most advanced organisms (from microbes to us!).Actually the idea of progress is purely an anthropomorphic one; and the idea that evolution has some goal, ditto.Evolution is eternally a phenomenon of the here and now without any concern for the future.True, organisms have become more complex, but that is only because they couldn't have gone in the other direction!A random walk away from a wall will show, as time passes, footsteps at a greater and greater distance from the wall.

Fourth: there is a missing link that is missing.There are intermediate forms that have been discovered; and more will be discovered in the future.The fossil record is necessarily limited since very, very few of the organisms that have ever existed are fossilized.Furthermore, the transformation from one species to the other is not from one fixed type to another but from the observation of a living thing at one moment in time to the observation of another very similar living thing at another moment in time.

Fifth: Evolution is random.Mutations are random, but changes in species are anything but random.The changes are sculptured by the environment.

Sixth: People come from monkeys.We had a common ancestor with chimpanzees some six million years ago, and millions of years before that we and modern monkeys had a common ancestor.Actually if you go back far enough we are descended from pond scum.And so what if we were descended from monkeys?Some people seem to think that our close relationship with other animals is somehow demeaning.Silly.

Seventh: Nature is in perfect balance.Truth is nature is in constant flux.Balance is in the eyes of the beholder.The earth's ecological balance is an ever changing, temporary thing.At one time the "balance" was characterized by most of life finding oxygen poisonous.At another time the balance was a "snowball" earth.Who knows what the future balance will be?

Eighth: Creationism disproves evolution.Creationism is really just a kind of fairy tale, a mythology that appeals to the need of some people to feel close to their idea of God.It's a way of giving a spurious meaning to life.

Ninth: Intelligent Design is science.Actually that would be unintelligent design, and it is not science at all.Instead, ID is creationism in a tux, as some wag put it.The key misconception of ID is that we or any organism was designed.Organisms grow; they evolve.If they were designed by an intelligent designer, one imagines that they would not have as many flaws.ID is a political movement that attempts to acquire the power and prestige of science.It's a yearning for the authoritarian rule of the Dark Ages.

Ten: Evolution is immoral.Evolution is of course amoral or non-moral.What is, is from a moralistic point of view, not necessarily what ought to be.Is does not imply ought.Morality is a human idea.By the way, people who understand evolution are just as moral, or even more so, than the followers of e.g., Jerry Falwell, James Dobson and George W. Bush.

5-0 out of 5 stars An invaluable resource on evolution
Humorist Dave Barry remarked once:

"I constantly see evidence that Americans do not understand basic scientific principles. For example, the great mathematician and dead person Sir Isaac Newton (who also invented gravity) proved in 1853 that, no matter how hard you push, you cannot fit an object into an airplane storage compartment if the object is way bigger than the compartment. Americans still do not understand this."

Unfortunately, this is also true about the average American's knowledge about evolution.

Cameron Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly debunk the ten most common accusations made against evolution. Explaining it in layman's terms, Smith and Sullivan set the record straight on things like evolution is "just a theory", evolution is immoral, Intelligent Design is legitimate science, humans come from monkeys and six other claims made by opponents of scientific inquiry.

The book is very well written and researched and is an invaluable source for the average person who wants to read the facts about this topic. I am sure the authors had the fact that many people (my self included) do not remember what they were taught in school since people usually think of science as boring.

This book is sorely needed due to the lack of knowledge, misinformation in the media as well as supporters of creationism and un-Intelligent Design who deliberately lie about evolution and try to present their pseudo-science as fact. ... Read more

38. Evolution of Respiratory Processes: A Comparative Approach (Lung Biology in Health and Disease)
by Stephen C. Wood
 Hardcover: 392 Pages (1979-03-01)
list price: US$199.95 -- used & new: US$199.92
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Asin: 0824767934
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39. A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics
by R. J. Lincoln, G. A. Boxshall, P. F. Clark
Paperback: 371 Pages (1998-07-13)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$38.48
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Asin: 052143842X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This is a completely revised, updated, and expanded version of this hugely successful book, which remains the most wide-ranging and comprehensive dictionary for the study of natural history in its broadest sense. There are over 11,000 entries, providing a working dictionary for students, teachers, researchers, and anyone having an interest within the broad arena of biodiversity studies.The extensive coverage includes classical disciplines (botany, zoology, bacteriology, mineralogy, paleontology, etc.), focusing particularly on concepts, strategies, and methodologies. New information in the book reflects major scientific developments, with special attention given to terminology relating to molecular techniques and to terminology generated by recent initiatives in the study of biological diversity and global climate change. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reference for those not familiar with ecology terms
My background is physics and I used this book in my radioecology class.I found it very helpful in looking up ecological terms I'm not familiar with in the books and journals I had to read. The definitions are easy to understand and find.

5-0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource for ecology students
My graduate advisor recommended this book and I wish I'd had it sooner.It has been extremely helpful with both my classwork and my thesis.When muttling through scientific literature, this has come in handy for understanding the esoteric vocabulary.It is laid out just like a Webster's dictionary, so terms are easy to find.There are also 28 Appendices with everything from maps of goegraphic regions and biomes to units conversions to abbrevaitons and proof correction marks.It is also good for finding the correct term to describe that concept your professor was discussing in class.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent reference piece
this is an excellent reference piece to any biologist.It has alot of the key words that any biologist who is in the fields of evolution, ecology, systematics, taxonomy to name a few.I myself am a graduate student and a couple of us have it and has become an invaluable piece to our librairies.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very nice dictionary for students majoring biology
I bought the dictionary of first edtion twelve years ago. I found its explanation about ecology,evolution, and systematics is very easily reading and useful to students majoring biology. It let me understand manyterms, and read the texts and references more easily. I'm very gald to knowthe new edition was published. I believe that the new edition will givereaders more useful and modern words of ecology, evolution, and sytematics. ... Read more

40. The Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution
by Larry L. Mai, Marcus Young Owl, M. Patricia Kersting
Paperback: 668 Pages (2005-07-04)
list price: US$83.99 -- used & new: US$29.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521664861
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Packed with 13000 descriptions of terms, specimens, sites and names, this invaluable research and study tool covers a broad range of subjects including human biology, physical anthropology, primatology, physiology, genetics, paleontology and zoology. The volume also includes over 1000 word roots, taxonomies and reference tables for extinct, recent and extant primates, and illustrations of landmarks, bones and muscles. It is essential for students, researchers, and anyone with an interest in human biology or evolution. ... Read more

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