The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History

The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History

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by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 

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"THE FLAMINGO'S SMILE is about history," writes the author in this volume of essays, "...and about what it means to say that life is the product of a contingent past, not the inevitable and predictable result of simple, timeless laws of nature. Quirkiness and meaning are my two not-so-contradictory themes."

Flamingos that feed upside down; flowers and snails that

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Overview

"THE FLAMINGO'S SMILE is about history," writes the author in this volume of essays, "...and about what it means to say that life is the product of a contingent past, not the inevitable and predictable result of simple, timeless laws of nature. Quirkiness and meaning are my two not-so-contradictory themes."

Flamingos that feed upside down; flowers and snails that change from male to female; the probability that an errant asteroid sounded the death knell of the dinosaurs and ushered in the evolution of mankind...these are only a few of the things that open our eyes to the endless delights of Gould's subject...evolutionary theory.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is Gould's fourth volume of essays reprinted, with postscripts, from Natural History. Gould's monthly columns seem to take on new meaning in these collectionseach becomes a piece in a mosaic pattern of thought. Thus, The Flamingo's Smile gives a glimpse at the big picture. The essay on the extinction of dinosaurs is placed effectively next to a consideration of humanity's possible extinction through nuclear war. The discussions of evolutionary biology include new pieces from recent research and revisions in previously held beliefs, as well as a surprisingly relevant essay on the decline in batting averages in major league baseball. And, for the first time, Gould writes for the general reader on his own research on Bahamian land snails. This book requires undivided attention, but the reward is special insight into the complexities of evolutionary biology. Susan Klimley, Columbia Univ. Libs., N.Y.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393022285
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1985
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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