Showing 1–12 of 69 results
The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us About Our FutureArtist/Author: Kelly, Robert L.
“I have seen yesterday. I know tomorrow.” This inscription in Tutankhamun’s tomb summarizes The Fifth Beginning. Here, archaeologist Robert L. Kelly explains how the study of our cultural past can predict the future of humanity.
In an eminently readable style, Kelly identifies four key pivot points in the six-million-year history of human development: the emergence of technology, culture, agriculture, and the state. In each example, the author examines the long-term processes that resulted in a definitive, no-turning-back change for the organization of society. Kelly then looks ahead, giving us evidence for what he calls a fifth beginning, one that started about AD 1500. Some might call it “globalization”, but the author places it in its larger context: a five-thousand-year arms race, capitalism’s global reach, and the cultural effects of a worldwide communication network.
Kelly predicts that the emergent phenomena of this fifth beginning will include the end of war as a viable way to resolve disputes, the end of capitalism as we know it, the widespread shift toward world citizenship, and the rise of forms of cooperation that will end the near-sacred status of nation-states. It’s the end of life as we have known it. However, the author is cautiously optimistic: he dwells not on the coming chaos, but on humanity’s great potential.
1. The End of the World as We Know It
2. How Archaeologists Think
3. Sticks and Stones: The Beginning of Technology
4. Beads and Stories: The Beginning of Culture
5. Bread and Beer: The Beginning of Agriculture
6. Kings and Chains: The Beginning of the State
7. Nothing Lasts Forever: The Fifth Beginning
The Art of NamingArtist/Author: Ohl, Michael (Author) Elisabeth Lauffer (Translated by)
Tyrannosaurus rex; Homo sapiens; Heteropoda davidbowie: behind each act of scientific naming is a story. In this entertaining and illuminating book, Michael Ohl considers scientific naming as a joyful and creative act. There are about 1.8 million discovered and named plant and animal species, and millions more still to be discovered. Naming is the necessary next step after discovery; it is through the naming of species that we perceive and understand nature. Ohl explains the process, with examples, anecdotes, and a wildly varied cast of characters. There are rules for scientific naming; the vernacular isn’t adequate. These rules – in standard binomial nomenclature, the generic name followed by specific name – go back to Linnaeus; but they are open to idiosyncrasy and individual expression. A lizard is designated Barbaturex morrisoni (in honor of the Doors’ Jim Morrison, the Lizard King); a member of the horsefly family Scaptia beyonceae. Ohl, a specialist in “winged things that sting”, confesses that among the many wasp species he has named is Ampulex dementor, after the dementors in the Harry Potter novels. Scientific names have also been deployed by scientists to insult other scientists, to make political statements, and as expressions of romantic love: “I shall name this beetle after my beloved wife”.
The Art of Naming takes us on a surprising and fascinating journey, in the footsteps of the discoverers of species and the authors of names, into the nooks and crannies and drawers and cabinets of museums, and through the natural world of named and not-yet-named species.
Nature’s Giants: The Biology and Evolution of the World’s Largest LifeformsArtist/Author: Ruxton, Graeme D
The past and present giants of our world – dinosaurs, whales, and even trees – are a source of unending fascination, and their sheer scale is awe-inspiring. Size is integral to the way that organisms experience the world: a puddle that a human being would step over without thinking is an entire world to thousands of microscopic rotifers. But why are creatures the size that they are? Why aren’t bugs the size of elephants, or whales the size of goldfish?
In this beautifully illustrated new book, biologist Graeme Ruxton explains how and why nature’s giants came to be so large, for example, how decreased oxygen levels limited the size of insects and how island isolation allowed small-bodied animals to evolve larger body sizes. Through a diverse array of examples, from huge butterflies to giant squid, Ruxton explores the physics, biology, and evolutionary drivers behind organism size, showing what it’s like to live large.
Unnatural SelectionArtist/Author: van Grouw, Katrina
Unnatural Selection is a stunningly illustrated book about selective breeding – the ongoing transformation of animals at the hand of man. More important, it’s a book about selective breeding on a far, far grander scale – a scale that encompasses all life on Earth. We’d call it evolution..
A unique fusion of art, science, and history, Unnatural Selection celebrates the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s monumental work The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication and is intended as a tribute to what Darwin might have achieved had he possessed that elusive missing piece to the evolutionary puzzle – the knowledge of how individual traits are passed from one generation to the next. With the benefit of a century and a half of hindsight, Katrina van Grouw explains evolution by building on the analogy that Darwin himself used – comparing the selective breeding process with natural selection in the wild, and, like Darwin, featuring a multitude of fascinating examples.
This is more than just a book about pets and livestock, however. The revelation of Unnatural Selection is that identical traits can occur in all animals, wild and domesticated, and both are governed by the same evolutionary principles. As van Grouw shows, animals are plastic things, constantly changing. In wild animals the changes are usually too slow to see – species appear to stay the same. When it comes to domesticated animals, however, change happens fast, making them the perfect model of evolution in action.
Suitable for the lay reader and student, as well as the more seasoned biologist, and featuring more than four hundred breathtaking illustrations of living animals, skeletons, and historical specimens, Unnatural Selection will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in natural history and the history of evolutionary thinking.
Darwin’s Fossils: Discoveries that Shaped the Theory of EvolutionArtist/Author: Lister, Adrian
Explore Darwin’s pioneering work on fossils in this richly illustrated book.
In On the Origin of Species Charles Darwin credited his discoveries of fossils, as much as those of living creatures, as the stimulus for his theory of evolution. Darwin’s Fossils is an accessible account of his pioneering work on fossils, his adventures in South America and his relations with the scientific establishment.
While Darwin’s work on Galapagos finches is celebrated, his pioneering work on fossils is much less well known. He was the first to collect the remains of giant extinct South American mammals; he worked out how coral reefs and atolls formed; he excavated and explained marine fossils high in the Andes; and he discovered a fossil forest that now bears his name. All of this was fundamental in leading him to his theory of evolution. Many of Darwin’s fossils survive, at the Natural History Museum and elsewhere, and recent years have seen a surge of scientific interest and research into them.
Richly illustrated with new photography of many of the fossils, superb line drawings produced in the 19th century, and newly-commissioned artists’ reconstructions of the extinct animals as understood today, Darwin’s Fossils reveals how fossils played a crucial role in the development of his revolutionary ideas.
In the Light of Evolution: Essays from the Laboratory and FieldArtist/Author: Jonathan Losos
In the Light of Evolution is a collection of essays by leading scientists, and includes essays by science writer Carl Zimmer, historian Janet Browne, and a foreword by journalist David Quammen. As Quammen says in his foreword, the book collects “reports from the field, plainspoken descriptions of lifetime obsessions, hard-earned bits of wisdom, and works in progress, pried loose from some of the most interesting, eminent researchers in evolutionary biology…” It is a book “for readers who are fascinated by evolutionary biology and who desire to understand better the day-by-day, species-by-species, ecosystem-by-ecosystem texture of its practice as a scientific profession.” The book is intended for anyone with an interest in evolution, and it can be used in a wide variety of courses, including major’s and non-major’s introductory biology and evolution classes.
The Origin then and now: an interpretive guide to the Origin of Species.Artist/Author: Reznick, David N. and Michael Ruse.
Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species is one of the most widely cited books in modern science. Yet tackling this classic can be daunting for students and general readers alike because of Darwin’s Victorian prose and the complexity and scope of his ideas. This book is a unique guide to Darwin’s masterwork, making it accessible to a much wider audience by deconstructing and reorganizing the Origin in a way that allows for a clear explanation of its key concepts. The Origin is examined within the historical context in which it was written, and modern examples are used to reveal how this work remains a relevant and living document for today. In this eye-opening and accessible guide, David Reznick shows how many peculiarities of the Origin can be explained by the state of science in 1859, helping readers to grasp the true scope of Darwin’s departure from the mainstream thinking of his day.
He reconciles Darwin’s concept of species with our current concept, which has advanced in important ways since Darwin first wrote the Origin, and he demonstrates why Darwin’s theory unifies the biological sciences under a single conceptual framework much as Newton did for physics. Drawing liberally from the facsimile of the first edition of the Origin, Reznick enables readers to follow along as Darwin develops his ideas. This book is an indispensable primer for anyone seeking to understand Darwin’s Origin of Species and the ways it has shaped the modern study of evolution.
Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s LegacyArtist/Author: De Roy, Tui.
This sumptuous large-format book was first produced in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles Darwin Foundation on Galapagos. The book comprises a series of invited essays under the editorship of world-renowned photographer and long-term Galapagos resident, Tui de Roy, who has also provided most of the photographs. The authoritative essays cover the entire spectrum of Galapagos wildlife including the marine environment, unique vegetation such as sunflower trees as well as wildlife including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions and the Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. This new edition has significant updates to a number of chapters including brand new photography and information about scientific developments elsewhere and a new jacket.
From clone to bone: the synergy of morphological and molecular tools in palaeobiology.Artist/Author: Asher, Robert J & Müller, Johannes
Featuring contributions from leading researchers, this volume provides perspectives on how molecular biology can inform paleontology, directly and indirectly, to better understand life’s past. Paleobiological questions such as genome size, digit homologies, genetic control cascades behind phenotype, estimates of vertebrate divergence dates, and rates of morphological evolution are addressed.
Evolution: The Whole StoryArtist/Author: Parker, Steve and Alice Roberts.
This comprehensive book traces an extraordinary journey, spanning 4 billion years, from the emergence of bacteria to the rise of the species that coexist today. An understanding of evolution has a profound effect on our appreciation of the natural world. The plants and animals alive today account for only one per cent of the species that have ever lived, and this book will enable you to understand why and how the other 99 per cent perished. In this book you will encounter pivotal evolutionary turning points, uncover false starts and global disasters, and trace the crucial scientific breakthroughs that have contributed to our understanding of this planet and the creatures on it. This book provides a complete account of all major life groups, from early single-celled organisms to the emergence of todays species. Features a spectacular variety of images, including fossils, skeletons, life-like reconstructions and living plants and animals. Chronological timelines plot key evolutionary events and discoveries for each major group.
The Evolution of LifeArtist/Author: Bell, Graham.
This book stands alone amongst the major textbooks by focusing on key principles to offer a truly accessible, unintimidating treatment of evolutionary biology. With adaptation through natural selection – how the integrated complexity of living organisms comes about – as its central theme, the book adopts a lucid, crystal-clear narrative to explain the mechanism of evolution and its main outcomes. Chapters are grouped into six themed parts – basics, history, origins, adaptation, selection, and interaction – and the text is regularly interspersed with descriptive headings that set out a clear path through the subject. The Evolution of Life is written to instil a true understanding of the essential principles of evolutionary biology without that understanding being compromised by peripheral detail. As such, it is the ideal introduction for any student encountering this fascinating subject for the first time.
Online Resource Centre The Evolution of Life is supported by the following online resources: For registered adopters: – Figures from the book in electronic format for use in lectures – A set of exam questions for each chapter – Journal Clubs: discussion questions that guide students through research papers related to each chapter For students: – Programs and interactive spreadsheets related to activities posed in the book.
Darwin’s on the origin of species: a modern rendition.Artist/Author: Duzdevich, Daniel, Judson, Olivia
Charles Darwin’s most famous book On the Origin of Species is without question, one of the most important books ever written. While even the grandest works of Victorian English can prove difficult to modern readers, Darwin wrote his text in haste and under intense pressure. For an era in which Darwin is more talked about than read, Daniel Duzdevich offers a clear, modern English rendering of Darwin’s first edition. Neither an abridgement nor a summary, this version might best be described as a “translation” for contemporary English readers. A monument to reasoned insight, the Origin illustrates the value of extensive reflection, carefully gathered evidence, and sound scientific reasoning. By removing the linguistic barriers to understanding and appreciating the Origin, this edition aims to bring 21st-century readers into closer contact with Darwin’s revolutionary ideas.