How Our Stone Age Brain Deceives Us Every Day (And What We Can Do About It)
The development of agriculture 12,000 years ago was a turning point in human culture, but our biological evolution has failed to keep pace. This book explores the extensive impact of this mismatch – how it affects our nutrition and family life, shapes our work and political structure, and has led to war – before suggesting societal changes that could create a world more aligned with human nature.
The Wolf Within
The Astonishing Evolution of Man's Best Friend
The bond between humans and dogs is close, emotional, and ancient, yet despite its comforting familiarity, it is an unlikely partnership. Using archaeological, genetic and behavioural evidence, this book explains how the descendants of wolves became man’s trusted companions, from their initial domestication in the Romanian mountains some 50,000 years ago to the huge variety of breeds existing today.
The Secret Life of Bones
Their Origins, Evolution and Fate
A palaeontologist, usually dealing with dinosaurs, Brian Switek turns his attention to the human skeleton and bone, ‘one of the most fantastic building materials that evolution has accidentally spit out’. Starting in the distant prehistoric past and tracing the evolution of bone, he goes on to examine the biology of the human skeleton and tell the stories of our bones in their many cultural and religious roles, whether worshipped as relics or symbols of conquest.
On the Origin of Species
By Means of Natural Selection
A landmark of scientific investigation and discovery by the pioneer of evolutionary biology, Origin of Species (1859) presented Darwin’s revolutionary theory that the process of natural selection ensures the survival of those species most efficiently adapted to their environment. This is a reprint of the sixth (1872) edition, the last published in Darwin’s lifetime.
What Makes Us Human?
Is it speech, intelligence or manual dexterity that makes us distinctly different from our ape cousins, or are we different at all? This investigation into the question presents the arguments of several eminent scientists and thinkers including anthropologist Robin Dunbar and geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer.
Symphony in C
Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything
Carbon provides the most important chemical link across time and space, from the Big Bang to the evolution of life on earth. This celebration and exploration of the element for the general reader is divided into four sections, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It explains the central role carbon played in the formation of the universe and its importance to the ecology of the planet today, and gives an overview of current research in carbon science.
No Need for Geniuses
Revolutionary Science in the Age of the Guillotine
In revolutionary Paris, ‘In the heady days around the fall of the Bastille, the city was saturated in science’; and the overlap between revolutionaries and the scientists – politiques and philosophes – is a major theme in this study of the remarkable, yet often overlooked achievements of French science during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
The 50 Most Significant Ideas and Events, Each Explained in Half a Minute
From life’s origins to humanity’s future, this overview of evolution covers such topics as the geological record of early organisms, the processes by which natural selection created millions of species, and the development of our modern understanding of genetics.
Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
Biologists have long observed the phenomenon of ‘convergence’, by which the same adaptations (such as eyes and wings) have evolved independently in different species. But is it inevitable that natural selection will produce these same outcomes, or do tiny, random changes make evolution less predictable? Losos describes the experiments, involving life-forms ranging from bacteria to lizards and foxes, by which he and his colleagues are beginning to resolve one of modern science’s great debates. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge
Science in the Soul
Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
Spanning more than three decades, these 41 essays reflect Richard Dawkins’ commitment to communicating the values and history of science, through his writings on evolution and the wonders of nature, his polemical attacks on faulty logic and his articles connecting scientific discourse to public debates. As well as providing new annotations to individual pieces, he uses the volume’s introduction to reiterate the importance of adhering to reason and objective values in an age of demagoguery and prejudice.
Evolution in a Man-Made World
‘The Pekingese is a tinkered wolf, not redesigned wholesale from its wolf ancestors.’ This study examines recent developments in evolutionary biology through the lens of domestication. The rapid physical and behavioural changes which, through centuries of breeding, have been wrought on pets and farm animals, allow us to see evolutionary processes accelerated, and therefore, Francis argues, to understand them better; particularly their conservative nature, a notion espoused by the fields of genomics and evolutionary developmental biology, which feature prominently here. Slightly off-mint.
On the Various Contrivances
by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects, and on the Good Effects of Intercrossing
Charles Darwin was fascinated by the way the flowers of orchids had evolved to attract specific insects. Noting the very long spur of Angraecum sesquipedale, he predicted that it could only be fertilized by a moth with a 35cm tongue, a statement that was ridiculed until such a species was discovered after his death. This limited edition facsimile of his seminal 1862 book on the subject is bound in cloth using traditional methods. Slightly off-mint.
Arrival of the Fittest
Solving Evolution's Greatest Puzzle
Although Darwin could explain how evolution preserves useful adaptations over time, the mechanisms behind its speed and efficiency eluded him. In this radical rethinking of Darwinian evolution, Wagner offers a solution to that enduring mystery. He draws on 15 years of research using the latest experimental and computational technologies to uncover the ‘principles of innovability’ that allow the creation of such complicated adaptations as lactose digestion, camouflage and the ‘antifreeze proteins’ produced by Arctic cod.
Not the End of the World?
Isolated environments have encouraged the evolution of distinct species, which are then vulnerable to extinction when contact with the wider world is established; the Mauritian Dodo and Lonesome George, the last of a Galapagos subspecies of giant tortoise, being famous examples. This Natural History Museum introduction to the subject explores extinctions from the earliest organisms to creatures under threat today and assesses whether climate change and the activities of man threaten a modern mass extinction.
What does it mean to say that we share 99 per cent of our genes with chimpanzees, or that languages can 'evolve'? What is a genome? How have ideas about human evolution changed the way we view the world and our fellow creatures? This book offers a straightforward explanation of the basic principles of evolutionary theory, its role in the history of science and the controversies it has caused from Darwin to the present day.
Science and Theology since Copernicus
The Search for Understanding
In this survey of scientific development and theological response over the past 450 years, Barrett covers three major shifts in Western science – the Scientific Revolution (16th and 17th centuries), Darwin's theory of evolution, and New Physics in the 20th century. He describes how the work of leading figures such as Copernicus, Boyle, Newton, Linnaeus and Darwin impacted on Christian belief and concludes with a discussion of the discourse between science and theology in recent decades.