99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Upby Jonathan Silvertown
In his lifetime, Charles Darwin was roundly mocked for suggesting that humans were descended from apes, and even in our own day, the teaching of evolution remains controversial. But in the century and a half since the publication of On the Origin of Species, our increasingly sophisticated understanding of genetics has borne out Darwin’s theory:/i>… See more details below
In his lifetime, Charles Darwin was roundly mocked for suggesting that humans were descended from apes, and even in our own day, the teaching of evolution remains controversial. But in the century and a half since the publication of On the Origin of Species, our increasingly sophisticated understanding of genetics has borne out Darwin’s theory: humans share 99% of their genes with chimps (and many even with grapes!).
99% Ape offers an accessible, straightforward introduction to evolution, beginning with Darwin’s discoveries and continuing through the latest genetic discoveries. Edited by Jonathan Silvertown, the volume brings together experts in a variety of fields pertinent to evolution, from paleobiology to planetary science, comparative anatomy to zoology, and even—for a discussion of legal battles surrounding the teaching of evolution—law. Interwoven with these varied accounts of evolution and its impact are vignettes from Darwin’s life that illustrate the continuity of thought that links Darwin’s work to today’s cutting-edge research.
Beautifully illustrated, 99% Ape is a perfect companion to the upcoming celebration of Darwin’s bicentennial and a bracing reminder of the important role evolution still has to play in our understanding of our origins—and our possible futures.
Silvertown, an evolutionary biologist at Britain's Open University, and six colleagues have produced an attractive, easy-to-navigate book that explains the data supporting evolutionary theory. "You don't need any background in science to enjoy this book," note the authors, and this is both its greatest strength and weakness. The discussion is easy to grasp, but also somewhat superficial. The 19 brief chapters are arranged in four sections: "Origins," on the genetic relatedness of all living things; "Body Building," on the process of developmental change and the evidence for it in the fossil record; "Diversity," on the importance of sex in creating diversity and speciation; and "Here and Now," on evolution's significance today. Readers will learn about the myriad interactions among genes and how easy these interactions make it for new evolutionary patterns and processes to develop. And readers will learn that evidence from a wide variety of fields, from geology to molecular genetics, physiology and evolutionary psychology, consistently support one another, demonstrating the power of evolutionary theory. The abundant and very attractive color pictures help illustrate the underlying science and are a pleasure to look at in their own right. (Apr. 15)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- University of Chicago Press
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