FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF GREAT NATURE WRITERS SUCH AS E.O. WILSON AND CHARMING MEMOIRS LIKE GERALD DURRELL'S MY FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS, THIS FASCINATING BOOK WILL ALTER THE WAY WE THINK ABOUT BUMBLEBEES.
Dave Goulson became obsessed with wildlife as a small boy growing up in rural Shropshire, starting with an increasingly exotic menagerie of pets. When his interest turned to the anatomical, there were even some ill-fated experiments with taxidermy. But bees are where Goulson's true passion lies--the humble bumblebee in particular.
Once commonly found in the marshes of Kent, the English short-haired bumblebee went extinct in the United Kingdom, but by a twist of fate still exists in the wilds of New Zealand, the descendants of a few pairs shipped over in the nineteenth century. Dave Goulson's passionate quest to reintroduce it to its native land is one of the highlights of a book that includes original research into the habits of these mysterious creatures, history's relationship with the bumblebee, and advice on how to protect the bumblebee for future generations.
One of the United Kingdom's most respected conservationists and the founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Goulson combines lighthearted tales of a child's growing passion for nature with a deep insight into the crucial importance of the bumblebee. He details the minutiae of life in the nest, sharing fascinating research into the effects intensive farming has had on our bee population and the potential dangers if we are to continue down this path.
"Billions & Billions can be interpreted as the Silent Spring for the current generation. . . . Human history includes a number of leaders with great minds who gave us theories about our universe and origins that ran contrary to religious dogma. Galileo determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not the other way around. Darwin challenged Creationism with his Evolution of Species. And now, Sagan has given the world its latest challenge: Billions & Billions."--San Antonio Express-News
" Sagan's] inspiration and boundless curiosity live on in the gift of his work."--Seattle Times & Post-Intelligencer
"Couldn't stay awake in your high school science classes? This book can help fill in the holes. Acclaimed scientist Carl Sagan combines his logic and knowledge with wit and humor to make a potentially dry subject enjoyable to read."--The Dallas Morning News
Like the revolutionary bestsellers Predictably Irrational and Emotional Intelligence, Sensation is an exciting, completely new view of human behavior--a new psychology of physical intelligence (or embodied cognition)--that explains how the body unconsciously affects our everyday decisions and choices, written by one of the world's leading psychologists.Color and temperature, darkness and light, rough and smooth textures--all these sensations influence your inner world and your actions with unexpected power. In Sensation, one of the world's leading experts on human behavior, Dr. Thalma Lobel, shares an exciting, completely new view of physical intelligence, or embodied cognition. She reveals that physical experiences unconsciously affect your everyday decisions and choices--with profound implications for your everyday life. Before you read the rest of this description, find a comfy place to sit and settle in with a mug of something warm. If you can, wrap yourself in a soft jacket, shawl, or blanket. Once you're warm and cozy, you'll warm to new ideas more quickly. Now listen: This book holds the power to change your life. That sounds like a lofty claim, but if this book were ten pounds heavier, you might regard that claim as more believable. (Job seekers, take note: A resume printed on thin paper is taken less seriously than ones on thick paper.) If this copy were written TOP
BOTTOM instead of SIDE TO SIDE you'd be more likely to believe it. You might also pay more attention if this were printed on red paper--although that color would seriously undermine your reading comprehension. (Test takers, beware: Exposure to the color red significantly and consistently reduces performance. But a whiff of cinnamon may undo the damage.) The more you know about how your physical environment influences your mind's interpretation of the world around you, the better you are able to navigate tricky waters and get to where you want to go. People with a sweet tooth seem kinder than others. Clean smells promote moral behavior, but people are more likely to cheat on a test right after having taken a shower. Hard surfaces make us inflexible. Sensation empowers you to recognize these outside forces and hidden biases, and even put them to use in your own life, in order to improve every facet of your personal and professional lives. The outside world shapes our perceptions and beliefs at every moment; Sensation reveals these hidden effects and lets you take control of your place in the world.
Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas's profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things. Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine. Lewis Thomas writes, "Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good for us."
No one in this century can speak with greater authority on the progress of ideas in biology than Ernst Mayr. And no book has ever established the life sciences so firmly in the mainstream of Western intellectual history as The Growth of Biological Thought. Ten years in preparation, this is a work of epic proportions, tracing the development of the major problems of biology from the earliest attempts to find order in the diversity of life to modern research into the mechanisms of gene transmission.
"Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" was Haeckel's answer--the wrong one--to the most vexing question of nineteenth-century biology: what is the relationship between individual development (ontogeny) and the evolution of species and lineages (phylogeny)? In this, the first major book on the subject in fifty years, Stephen Jay Gould documents the history of the idea of recapitulation from its first appearance among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century.
Mr. Gould explores recapitulation as an idea that intrigued politicians and theologians as well as scientists. He shows that Haeckel's hypothesis--that human fetuses with gill slits are, literally, tiny fish, exact replicas of their water-breathing ancestors--had an influence that extended beyond biology into education, criminology, psychoanalysis (Freud and Jung were devout recapitulationists), and racism. The theory of recapitulation, Gould argues, finally collapsed not from the weight of contrary data, but because the rise of Mendelian genetics rendered it untenable.
Turning to modern concepts, Gould demonstrates that, even though the whole subject of parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny fell into disrepute, it is still one of the great themes of evolutionary biology. Heterochrony--changes in developmental timing, producing parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny--is shown to be crucial to an understanding of gene regulation, the key to any rapprochement between molecular and evolutionary biology. Gould argues that the primary evolutionary value of heterochrony may lie in immediate ecological advantages for slow or rapid maturation, rather than in long-term changes of form, as all previous theories proclaimed.
Neoteny--the opposite of recapitulation--is shown to be the most important determinant of human evolution. We have evolved by retaining the juvenile characters of our ancestors and have achieved both behavioral flexibility and our characteristic morphology thereby (large brains by prolonged retention of rapid fetal growth rates, for example).
Gould concludes that "there may be nothing new under the sun, but permutation of the old within complex systems can do wonders. As biologists, we deal directly with the kind of material complexity that confers an unbounded potential upon simple, continuous changes in underlying processes. This is the chief joy of our science."
Everything about our existence-movement and memory, imagination and reproduction, birth, and ultimately death-is governed by our cells. They are the basis of all life in the universe, from bacteria to the most complex animals. In the tradition of the classic Lives of a Cell, but with the benefit of the latest research, Lewis Wolpert demonstrates how human life grows from a single cell into a body, an incredibly complex society of billions of cells. Wolpert goes on to examine the science behind topics that are much discussed but rarely understood stem-cell research, cloning, DNA, cancer and explains how all life on earth evolved from just one cell. Lively and passionate, this is an accessible guide to understanding the human body and life itself."
Ever wondered how the food you eat becomes the energy your body needs to keep going? The theory of evolution says that humans and chimps descended from a common ancestor, but does it tell us how and why? We humans are insatiably curious creatures who can't help wondering how things work -- starting with our own bodies. Wouldn't it be great to have a single source of quick answers to all our questions about how living things work? Now there is.
From molecules to animals, cells to ecosystems, Biology For Dummies, 2nd Edition answers all your questions about how living things work.
- Written in plain English and packed with dozens of illustrations, quick-reference
- Cheat Sheets, and helpful tables and diagrams, it cuts right to the chase with fast-paced, easy-to-absorb explanations of the life processes common to all organisms.
- More than 20% new and updated content, including a substantial overhaul to the organization of topics to make it a friendly classroom supplement
- Coverage of the most recent developments and discoveries in evolutionary, reproductive, and ecological biology
- Includes practical, up-to-date examples
Whether you're currently enrolled in a biology class or just want to know more about this fascinating and ever-evolving field of study, this engaging guide will give you a grip on complex biology concepts and unlock the mysteries of how life works in no time.
"A startling argument . . . provocative . . . absorbing." --The Boston Globe"Ambitious . . . arresting . . . celebrates the importance of hands to our lives today as well as to the history of our species."
--The New York Times Book Review The human hand is a miracle of biomechanics, one of the most remarkable adaptations in the history of evolution. The hands of a concert pianist can elicit glorious sound and stir emotion; those of a surgeon can perform the most delicate operations; those of a rock climber allow him to scale a vertical mountain wall. Neurologist Frank R. Wilson makes the striking claim that it is because of the unique structure of the hand and its evolution in cooperation with the brain that Homo sapiens became the most intelligent, preeminent animal on the earth.
In this fascinating book, Wilson moves from a discussion of the hand's evolution--and how its intimate communication with the brain affects such areas as neurology, psychology, and linguistics--to provocative new ideas about human creativity and how best to nurture it. Like Oliver Sacks and Stephen Jay Gould, Wilson handles a daunting range of scientific knowledge with a surprising deftness and a profound curiosity about human possibility. Provocative, illuminating, and delightful to read, The Hand encourages us to think in new ways about one of our most taken-for-granted assets. "A mark of the book's excellence is that] it makes the reader aware of the wonder in trivial, everyday acts, and reveals the complexity behind the simplest manipulation." --The Washington Post
The medusa is a tiny jellyfish that lives on the ventral surface of a sea slug found in the Bay of Naples. Readers will find themselves caught up in the fate of the medusa and the snail as a metaphor for eternal issues of life and death as Lewis Thomas further extends the exploration of man and his world begun in The Lives of a Cell. Among the treasures in this magnificent book are essays on the human genius for making mistakes, on disease and natural death, on cloning, on warts, and on Montaigne, as well as an assessment of medical science and health care. In these essays and others, Thomas once again conveys his observations of the scientific world in prose marked by wonder and wit.