Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 
What color is a zebra? Does the changing size of a Hershey bar hold a lesson of adaptive significance? Did an asteroid bring mass extinction to the earth 65 million years ago? Why do animals walk, fly, swim and slither but never roll? Human beings not withstanding, why are the females of most species larger than the males?

Behind each question and each answer

Overview

What color is a zebra? Does the changing size of a Hershey bar hold a lesson of adaptive significance? Did an asteroid bring mass extinction to the earth 65 million years ago? Why do animals walk, fly, swim and slither but never roll? Human beings not withstanding, why are the females of most species larger than the males?

Behind each question and each answer lie concepts central to science and in particular to an understanding of evolution, the centerpiece of biology. Science is the art of the doable, and the science of evolutionary biology has changed our view of the world. It is important to remember that natural selection is not a perfecting principle, but a means of making sense of our earth as we find it today.

Editorial Reviews

Steven Rose
His method is fairly consistent. Most of the essays begin with a nonscientific anecdote - about, say, the theme of a Rossini operatic aria....And before two pages are up, we are drawn effortlessly into an analysis of often profound biological questions....But over all, it is on the biological insights of the essays - and hence their social and philosophical implications - that this book (and indeed Mr. Gould himself) stands or falls. -- New York Times
Washington Post Book World
“Delectable. . . . A happy evolutionary tour de force. Gould is a true natural philosopher in the grand tradition of the Enlightenment. Read, learn, and enjoy.”
Gene Lyons - Newsweek
“As witty as he is learned, Gould has a born essayist's ability to evoke the general out of fascinating particulars. . . . He is a thinker and writer as central to our times as any whose name comes to mind. . . . Whether he is explaining how zebras get their stripes, [or] why it is fallacious to assume that extinction means biological 'failure' . . . Gould's passion for truth an generosity of spirit make him one of nature's true wonders.”
Tracy Kidder
“Lively and fascinating. . . . [Gould] writes beautifully about science and the wonders of nature.”
Newsweek
As witty as he is learned, Gould has a born essayist's ability to evoke the general out of fascinating particulars. . . . He is a thinker and writer as central to our times as any whose name comes to mind. . . . Whether he is explaining how zebras get their stripes, [or] why it is fallacious to assume that extinction means biological 'failure' . . . Gould's passion for truth an generosity of spirit make him one of nature's true wonders.— Gene Lyons

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393302004
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1984
Pages:
1
Product dimensions:
1.00(w) x 1.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
1320L (what's this?)

What People are saying about this

Tracy Kidder
Lively and fascinating. . . . [Gould] writes beautifully about science and the wonders of nature.

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

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