Consider the Platypus
Evolution Through Biology's Most Baffling Beasts
Hardcover ISBN: 0316418390
An award-winning science journalist and comedy writer explores the characteristics of dozens of animal species, from domesticated pets to wild outliers, to offer lighthearted insights into the inner workings of evolution, biology and genetics. 15,000 first printing. Illustrations.
Darwin's Unfinished Business
The Self-Organizing Intelligence of Nature
Paperback ISBN: 1594774404
A groundbreaking interpretation of evolution as the work of Nature’s intelligence • Refutes the orthodox view of evolution as a mindless process driven by chance • Explains why context is more important than mutation in evolutionary innovation • Shows how, by recognizing Nature’s innovative and creative powers, we can overcome our social and environmental challenges with a new green science of evolution Darwin’s theory of evolution is undoubtedly one of the most important scientific ideas of the modern age, explaining the existence of both life and consciousness without recourse to divine intervention. Yet how do we interpret evolution? How do we evaluate the ability of Nature to engineer something as exquisite as the genetic code or the human brain? Could it be that evolution is an intelligent process? Is Nature smart? According to most scientists, the answer is no. While humanity may be intelligent and purposeful, the natural processes that crafted us are deemed to be devoid of such attributes. In a radical move away from orthodoxy, Simon G. Powell extends Darwin’s vision by showing that evolution is not just about the survival of the fittest but rather the survival of clever and sensible behavior. Revealing the importance of the context in which things evolve, he explores the intelligent learning process behind natural selection. Rich with examples of the incredibly complex plants, animals, insects, and marine life designed by Nature--from the carnivorous Venus flytrap and the fungus-farming leafcutter ant to the symbiotic microbes found inside the common cow--he shows Nature as a whole to be a system of self-organizing intelligence in which life and consciousness were always destined to emerge. Examining the origins of life and the failure of artificial intelligence to compete with natural intelligence, he explains how our scientifically narrow-minded views on intelligence are now acting as a barrier to our own evolution. As Darwin’s unfinished business comes to light and Nature’s intelligence is embraced, we learn that Nature’s agenda is not simply the replication of genetic matter but of expanding consciousness. By working with Nature’s creative and innovative powers instead of against them, we can address today’s social and environmental challenges with a new green science of evolution.
The Evolution of Beauty
How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World and Us
Hardcover ISBN: 0385537212
A major reevaluation of how evolutionary forces work examines how mating preferences, what Darwin termed, "the taste for the beautiful," have driven adaptive evolution and created an extraordinary range of aesthetic and elaborate ornament in the animal world.
The Greatest Show on Earth
The Evidence for Evolution
Paperback ISBN: 1416594795
The acclaimed author of The God Delusion and Selfish Gene lays out evidence in defense of the theory of evolution in a thrilling tour into our distant past and into the interstices of life on Earth. Reprint. A best-selling book.
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
A Search for Who We Are
Paperback ISBN: 0345384725
"Dazzling...A feast. Absorbing and elegantly written, it tells of theorigins of life on earth, describes its variety and charaacter, and culminates in a discussion of human nature and teh complex traces ofhumankind's evolutionary past...It is an amazing story masterfully told." FINANCIAL TIMES (LONDON) World renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a ROOTS for the human species, a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are. It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits--self-awareness, technology, family ties, submission to authority, hatred for those a little different from ourselves, reason, and ethics--are rooted in the deep past, and illuminated by our kinship with other animals. Astonishing in its scope, brilliant in its insights, and an absolutely compelling read, SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS is a triumph of popular science.
The Paradox of Evolution
The Strange Relationship Between Natural Selection and Reproduction
Paperback ISBN: 1633880729
This book examines a little-noted contradiction inherent in the two essential elements of Darwin's theory of biological evolution--natural selection and reproduction. Physiologist Stephen Rothman makes the revolutionary claim that the evolution of life's complex and diverse reproductive mechanisms is not the consequence of natural selection. In so doing, he exposes the deepest question possible about life's nature--its reason for being. In meticulously detailed but accessible terms he lays out the crux of the paradox and offers an intriguing solution within a naturalistic framework. In an ostensibly purposeless universe, somehow purposeful life has evolved. For all living things there are two overarching purposes: survival and the creation of new life. Natural selection is about the survival of existing life, but has no interest in life's future, about whether it persists or perishes. By contrast, reproduction is only about the future of life, and has no interest in existing life except as a means to that end. Where do these purposes come from? As Rothman demonstrates, at every level life is wired to react to danger. Counterintuitively, without the danger to its existence, life would not have come into being. As for reproduction, nature's destructive forces drive the creation of new life. Written with great clarity and informed by deep learning, this elegant, thoughtful work tackles some of the most challenging questions raised by the theory of evolution, while calling to mind Darwin's famous words from the conclusion ofOn the Origin of Species: "There is a grandeur in this view of life."
The Book That Changed America
How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation
Hardcover ISBN: 052542833x
Traces the impact of Charles Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" on a diverse group of writers, abolitionists, and social reformers, including Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott, against a backdrop of growing tensions and transcendental idealism in 1860 America.
Eyewitness to Evolution
Paperback ISBN: 0375706216
Turning the clock back several billion years, the author introduces readers the first denizens of planet earth--crustaceans called trilobite that ruled the oceans for three hundred million years. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
The Ancestor's Tale
A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
Paperback ISBN: 0544859936
A renowned scientist and author of The Selfish Gene provides a sweeping chronicle of more than four billion years of life on Earth, shedding new light on evolutionary theory and history, sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical disperal, and other topics.