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Darwin's Dogs: How Darwin's Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution
     

Darwin's Dogs: How Darwin's Pets Helped Form a World-Changing Theory of Evolution

by Emma Townshend
 

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Anyone who has ever looked at a dog waiting to go for a walk and thought there was something age-old and almost human in its sad expression can take comfort in knowing that Charles Darwin did exactly the same thing. But Darwin didn’t just stop at feeling that there was some connection between humans and dogs. A great naturalist, pioneer of the theory of

Overview

Anyone who has ever looked at a dog waiting to go for a walk and thought there was something age-old and almost human in its sad expression can take comfort in knowing that Charles Darwin did exactly the same thing. But Darwin didn’t just stop at feeling that there was some connection between humans and dogs. A great naturalist, pioneer of the theory of evolution, and incurable dog-lover, Darwin used his much-loved dogs as evidence in his continuing argument that all animals, including human beings, descended from one common ancestor. Emma Townshend looks at Darwin’s life through a uniquely canine perspective, from his fondly written letters home inquiring after the health of family pets to his profound scientific consideration of the ancestry of the domesticated dog. Vintage photographs of dogs, together with modern diagrams, help show the visual aspects of the evolutionary theory.

Editorial Reviews

Charles Darwin's father could not have been more emphatic. "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs, and rat-catching," he wrote, "and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family." For the wayward young naturalist, his dogs were constant companions, whether on outdoor expeditions or at home. When he finally settled into writing his Origin of Species, he quickly hit on an apt analogy: Nature is like an attentive dog breeder, picking desirable characteristics that it wants to emphasize and suppressing unwanted features. Emma Townshend's Darwin's Dogs performs what none of us thought was possible: It illuminates a new side of this protean 19th-century thinker.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780711230651
Publisher:
Lincoln, Frances Limited
Publication date:
11/01/2009
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
1,370,143
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Emma Townshend has degrees in history and history of science from Cambridge, Imperial College and UCL, and her postgraduate thesis involved research about Darwin's correspondence with plant breeders and gardeners. She has taught courses on Darwin since being a postgraduate at Cambridge in 1994, most recently for the Department of Continuing Education in Oxford, and was particularly involved in Oxford's online course project 'All learn', run in cooperation with Stanford and Yale, for which she wrote a course under the aegis of Richard Dawkins.She has recently written on Darwin's connections with the Royal Botanic Garden for Kew Magazine, and will be giving special guided tours of Kew in Darwin's bicentenary year, 2009. A regular guest on radio and TV including the World Service, Radio 4 Womans' Hour, A Hard Act to Follow, and BBC2 Newsnight, Emma Townshend is the Independent on Sunday's weekly garden columnist and writes regularly for the Times' arts pages.

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