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
Goldilocks and the Water Bears
The Search for Life in the Universe
Venus is too hot, Mars too cold, but Earth’s distance from the Sun makes it ‘just right’ for a thriving biosphere. As we search for other planets perfectly positioned to support living organisms, an astrobiologist explains what scientists can learn from research into the origins and evolution of life, as well as the study of ‘extremophile’ water bears, tiny aquatic creatures able to survive the harshest conditions on Earth.
The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own
During the 1980s scientists began discovering life in places where no one thought it would be possible – rock-eating fungi, bacteria living in boiling water at volcanic hydrothermal vents, or in hot sulphur springs. How far the limits of life extend became the subject of research; here, Toomey explains the complex science of this biological avant-garde in lively, layman’s language and covers topics ranging from the sulphur-loving ‘extremophiles’ to the possibility of intelligent weird life.