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.
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.
The Evolution of Battle
From the horns of dung beetles or the enormous claws of male fiddler crabs to the elaborate antlers of elk, some animals have developed extravagant weapons that seem out of proportion with their size. Evolutionary biologist Douglas Emlen has made a study of the factors that drive the evolution of these extreme specializations and, in this study, draws parallels with the development of military technology in human history, concluding that the governing factors are the same.
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.