how evolution shapes our lives essays on biology and society

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How Evolution Shapes Our Lives

Author : Jonathan B. Losos
ISBN : 9781400881383
Genre : Science
File Size : 28. 47 MB
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It is easy to think of evolution as something that happened long ago, or that occurs only in "nature," or that is so slow that its ongoing impact is virtually nonexistent when viewed from the perspective of a single human lifetime. But we now know that when natural selection is strong, evolutionary change can be very rapid. In this book, some of the world's leading scientists explore the implications of this reality for human life and society. With some twenty-three essays, this volume provides authoritative yet accessible explorations of why understanding evolution is crucial to human life—from dealing with climate change and ensuring our food supply, health, and economic survival to developing a richer and more accurate comprehension of society, culture, and even what it means to be human itself. Combining new essays with essays revised and updated from the acclaimed Princeton Guide to Evolution, this collection addresses the role of evolution in aging, cognition, cooperation, religion, the media, engineering, computer science, and many other areas. The result is a compelling and important book about how evolution matters to humans today. The contributors are Dan I. Andersson, Francisco J. Ayala, Amy Cavanaugh, Cameron R. Currie, Dieter Ebert, Andrew D. Ellington, Elizabeth Hannon, John Hawks, Paul Keim, Richard E. Lenski, Tim Lewens, Jonathan B. Losos, Virpi Lummaa, Jacob A. Moorad, Craig Moritz, Martha M. Muñoz, Mark Pagel, Talima Pearson, Robert T. Pennock, Daniel E. L. Promislow, Erik M. Quandt, David C. Queller, Robert C. Richardson, Eugenie C. Scott, H. Bradley Shaffer, Joan E. Strassmann, Alan R. Templeton, Paul E. Turner, and Carl Zimmer.

Randomness In Evolution

Author : John Tyler Bonner
ISBN : 9781400846429
Genre : Science
File Size : 43. 72 MB
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John Tyler Bonner, one of our most distinguished and insightful biologists, here challenges a central tenet of evolutionary biology. In this concise, elegantly written book, he makes the bold and provocative claim that some biological diversity may be explained by something other than natural selection. With his customary wit and accessible style, Bonner makes an argument for the underappreciated role that randomness--or chance--plays in evolution. Due to the tremendous and enduring influence of Darwin's natural selection, the importance of randomness has been to some extent overshadowed. Bonner shows how the effects of randomness differ for organisms of different sizes, and how the smaller an organism is, the more likely it is that morphological differences will be random and selection may not be involved to any degree. He traces the increase in size and complexity of organisms over geological time, and looks at the varying significance of randomness at different size levels, from microorganisms to large mammals. Bonner also discusses how sexual cycles vary depending on size and complexity, and how the trend away from randomness in higher forms has even been reversed in some social organisms. Certain to provoke lively discussion, Randomness in Evolution is a book that may fundamentally change our understanding of evolution and the history of life.

Why Size Matters

Author : John Tyler Bonner
ISBN : 9780691152332
Genre : Nature
File Size : 64. 68 MB
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John Tyler Bonner, one of our most distinguished and creative biologists, here offers a completely new perspective on the role of size in biology. In his hallmark friendly style, he explores the universal impact of being the right size. By examining stories ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Gulliver's Travels, he shows that humans have always been fascinated by things big and small. Why then does size always reside on the fringes of science and never on the center stage? Why do biologists and others ponder size only when studying something else--running speed, life span, or metabolism? Why Size Matters, a pioneering book of big ideas in a compact size, gives size its due by presenting a profound yet lucid overview of what we know about its role in the living world. Bonner argues that size really does matter--that it is the supreme and universal determinant of what any organism can be and do. For example, because tiny creatures are subject primarily to forces of cohesion and larger beasts to gravity, a fly can easily walk up a wall, something we humans cannot even begin to imagine doing. Bonner introduces us to size through the giants and dwarfs of human, animal, and plant history and then explores questions including the physics of size as it affects biology, the evolution of size over geological time, and the role of size in the function and longevity of living things. As this elegantly written book shows, size affects life in its every aspect. It is a universal frame from which nothing escapes.

Animal Athletes

Author : Duncan J. Irschick
ISBN : 9780199296552
Genre :
File Size : 23. 80 MB
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Animals perform many athletic tasks to an amazing degree of accomplishment: not only spectacular feats of running and jumping but also routine actions that ensure survival such as feeding, vocalization, diving, flying, and many more. The study of performance capacity (defined as the ability of an animal to conduct a key task) is of great interest to both ecologists and evolutionary biologists. At an ecological level, how well individuals perform often dictates opportunities for reproduction, occupation of preferred territories, or capturing prey. Therefore, variation in performance capacities can be a key determinant of variation in fitness within animal populations. At an evolutionary level, variation in function often follows closely from variation in form, and therefore enables animals to invade novel habitats, or to overtake other species. This novel book examines how and why animal athletes have evolved. It uses examples from across the animal kingdom and integrates them in the broader context of ecology and evolution, thereby identifying common themes that transcend taxonomic divisions. Animal Athletes is an accessible textbook of particular relevance to undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, and professionals in the fields of evolutionary biology, ecology, vertebrate morphology, and functional morphology.

The Princeton Guide To Evolution

Author : David A. Baum
ISBN : 9781400848065
Genre : Science
File Size : 80. 30 MB
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The Princeton Guide to Evolution is a comprehensive, concise, and authoritative reference to the major subjects and key concepts in evolutionary biology, from genes to mass extinctions. Edited by a distinguished team of evolutionary biologists, with contributions from leading researchers, the guide contains some 100 clear, accurate, and up-to-date articles on the most important topics in seven major areas: phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society. Complete with more than 100 illustrations (including eight pages in color), glossaries of key terms, suggestions for further reading on each topic, and an index, this is an essential volume for undergraduate and graduate students, scientists in related fields, and anyone else with a serious interest in evolution. Explains key topics in some 100 concise and authoritative articles written by a team of leading evolutionary biologists Contains more than 100 illustrations, including eight pages in color Each article includes an outline, glossary, bibliography, and cross-references Covers phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society

Improbable Destinies

Author : Jonathan B. Losos
ISBN : 9780399184932
Genre : Science
File Size : 74. 25 MB
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A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change—a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze—caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets? Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be. Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

Processes Of Life

Author : John Dupré
ISBN : 9780199691982
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 73. 99 MB
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John Dupré explores recent revolutionary developments in biology and considers their relevance for our understanding of human nature and society. He reveals how the advance of genetic science is changing our view of the constituents of life, and shows how an understanding of microbiology will overturn standard assumptions about the living world.

In The Light Of Evolution

Author : Jonathan B. Losos
ISBN : 0981519490
Genre : Science
File Size : 35. 28 MB
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Evolution Emerging is a collection of essays by leading scientists. The essays are fascinating stories in themselves, but they also give an insiders view into how these researchers go about their work. Contributors include Edmund Brodie III, James Curtsinger, Ted Daeschler, Douglas Emlen, Harry Greene, Luke Harmon, Daniel Lieberman, Jonathan Losos, Axel Meyer, David C. Queller, Neil Shubin, David Reznick, Michael Ryan, and Marlene Zuk. The book also includes an essay by award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer and a foreword by David Quammen.

The Strongest Boy In The World

Author : Philip Reilly
ISBN : 9780879698010
Genre : Medical
File Size : 22. 34 MB
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Philip R. Reilly is a physician, geneticist, and a lawyer. He is also a storyteller. His new book, The Strongest Boy in the World: How Genetic Information is Reshaping Our Lives,contains twenty engaging stories, each of which offers the reader a delightful excursion that will expand his worldview. As tour guide, Reilly is passionately committed to ensuring that intriguing discoveries lie around every bend in the road. Whether it is speculating on the impact of genetics on the future of sports, the evolutionary origins of humans, the mysteries of genetic diseases, the similarities between dogs and people, the impact of genetic engineering on what we eat, or the ethical dimensions of stem cell research, Reilly offers up spell binding tales. In each of the twenty chapters, he deftly reviews complex scientific and medical information in a manner that offers the reader the facts necessary to debate the value questions.

The Story Of The Human Body

Author : Daniel Lieberman
ISBN : 9780307741806
Genre : Science
File Size : 43. 16 MB
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In this book the author, a Harvard evolutionary biologist presents an account of how the human body has evolved over millions of years, examining how an increasing disparity between the needs of Stone Age bodies and the realities of the modern world are fueling a paradox of greater longevity and chronic disease. It illuminates the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. The author also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, the author argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. The author proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of 'dysevolution,' a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally, he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. -- From publisher's web site.

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