Carroll is an adept and wide-ranging writer. His narrative hopscotches from the Antarctic Ocean to Yellowstone National Park to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to the Costa Rican rain forest. Even when he tells a well-known story in evolutionary biology, such as the linking of sickle cell anemia to malaria, Carroll finds a new way to tell it. One chapter begins, "It is rumored that the most common last words humans utter are, 'Hey, hold my beer and watch this!' " Reading The Making of the Fittest is like spending a few hours with an extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic dinner companion.
The Washington Post
Picking up where scientists like Richard Dawkins have left off, Carroll, a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo), has written a fast-paced look at how DNA demonstrates the evolutionary process. Natural selection eliminates harmful changes and embraces beneficial ones, and each change leaves its signature on a species' DNA codes. For example, the Antarctic ice fish today has no red blood cells; yet a fossilized gene for hemoglobin remains in its DNA, showing that the fish has adapted over 55 million years by losing the red blood cells that thicken blood and make it harder to pump in extreme cold. The fish has developed other features that allow it to absorb and circulate blood without hemoglobin. . Carroll points out that by examining the DNA of these ice fish species, it's possible to map its origins as well as the history of the South Atlantic's geology. He also uses dolphins, colobus monkeys and microbes to demonstrate how deeply evolution is etched in DNA. While searches for the genetic basis for evolution are hardly new, Carroll offers some provocative and convincing evidence. 7 pages of color illus.; 50 b&w illus. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Leading geneticist Carroll (genetics, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo), an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, presents new discoveries gathered from DNA evidence that confirm Charles Darwin's theory of evolution "beyond any reasonable doubt." Over the last two decades, biologists have mined the DNA record for insights into how species have evolved on the planet. These biologists have proved that every evolutionary change in each individual species involves specific changes in the DNA record that enable species to adapt to diverse habitats and "evolve new lifestyles." Readers will gain insight into the evolutionary process and expand their knowledge of how the "fittest" species were made, from fish that live in subfreezing water to birds that communicate via ultraviolet colors. According to Carroll, these new discoveries demolish the major arguments against biological evolution as promulgated by antievolutionists. Students and teachers of biology will particularly benefit from his readable treatment of the evolutionary process. An essential addition to every school, public, and academic library. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06.] Victoria Shelton, George Mason Univ. Libs., Manassas, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Those who know Lawlor's other readings will again be amazed at his proficiency.... Challenging and rewarding." AudioFile
Ira Flatow - NPR "Science Friday"
“I recommend [The Making of the Fittest] to everybody who wants to understand more [about evolution], because it is written in such simple yet detailed language.... Quite a pleasure to read.”
Dan Vergano - USA Today
“The rare scientist with an easygoing writing style.”
“The best refutation of intelligent design.”
Steve Olson - Washington Post
“An adept and wide-ranging writer.”
Brian Charlesworth - Nature
“Excellent.... Carroll's book will certainly help the public to understand evolution more clearly.”
Josie Glausiusz - Discover
“With fervor and clarity, Carroll amasses a glut of facts to refute the twisted logic of the anti-Darwinist camp.”