Showing 1–12 of 70 results
Evolution in Minutes: The Origins and Story of Life Explained and IllustratedArtist/Author: Naish, Darren
How did life begin? What is the theory of evolution and is it proven? Are we really descended from apes? And has evolution stalled or is humanity just a step on the way to more advanced forms of life? Through 200 mini-essays, expert palaeontologist Darren Naish answers these and many other fundamental questions on the most controversial topic of all. From the theories of Charles Darwin and the Survival of the Fittest to cutting-edge research on consciousness and artificial life, he explains where we came from, how we became human, and what might happen to us next. Immense in scope, and with 200 informative images and diagrams, Evolution in Minutes concisely covers the concepts, rival theories, history and politics of evolution, as well as explaining the development of life across deep time as revealed by the fossil record, from the earliest bacteria via dinosaurs and Neanderthals to humankind – and beyond.
The Selfish Gene (40th Anniversary Edition)Artist/Author: Dawkins, Richard
The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene’s eye view of evolution – a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanised the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published. This 40th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue from the author discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today, as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews. Oxford Landmark Science books are ‘must-read’ classics of modern science writing which have crystallised big ideas, and shaped the way we think.
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate RationalistArtist/Author: Dawkins, Richard
This anthology of more than forty pieces is a kaleidoscopic argument for the power and the glory of science. Breathtaking, brilliant and passionate, these essays, journalism, lectures and letters make an unanswerable case for the wonder of scientific discovery and its power to stir the imagination; for the practical necessity of scientific endeavour to society; and for the importance of the scientific way of thinking – particularly in today’s ‘post-truth’ world.
With an introduction and new commentary by the author, subjects range from evolution and Darwinian natural selection to the role of scientist as prophet, whether science is itself a religion, the probability of alien life in other worlds, and the beauties, cruelties and oddities of earthly life in this one. Alongside the explications, the celebrations and the controversies are wonderfully funny ventures into satire and parody, and moving personal reflections in memory and honour of others.
Science in the Soul is a sparkling showcase for Professor Dawkins’ rapier wit, the clarity, precision and vigour he brings to an argument, the beauty of his prose, the depth of his feeling and his capacity for joy.
The Rise of Reptiles 320 Million Years of EvolutionArtist/Author: Sues, Hans-Dieter
Over 300 million years ago, an early land vertebrate developed an egg that contained the embryo in an amnion, allowing it to be deposited on land. This moment marked the first step in the fascinating and complex evolutionary journey of the reptiles. In The Rise of Reptiles, paleontologist Hans-Dieter Sues explores the diversity of reptilian lineages, discussing the relationships among turtles, crocodylians, lizards and snakes, and many extinct groups.
Reflecting the tremendous advances in the study of reptilian diversity and phylogeny over recent decades, The Rise of Reptiles is the first detailed, contemporary synthesis of the evolutionary history of these remarkable animals. Reptiles have always confused taxonomists, who have endlessly debated and rewritten their classifications. In this book, Sues adopts an explicitly phylogenetic framework to sift through the evidence and discuss the origin and diversification of Reptilia in a way no one has before. He also examines the genealogical link between dinosaurs and birds and sheds new light on the Age of Reptiles, a period that saw the rise and fall of most dinosaurs.
With this single meticulously researched volume, Sues paints a complete portrait of the reptilian evolution. Numerous photographs of key specimens from around the world introduce readers to the reptilian fossil record, and color images of present-day reptiles illustrate their diversity. The extensive bibliography provides an invaluable guide for readers who are interested in exploring individual topics more deeply. Accurate, synthetic, and sweeping, The Rise of Reptiles is the definitive work on the subject.
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: Losos, Jonathan B. (Editor)
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 SpeciesArtist/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.