Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006

Overview

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson is one of the leading biologists and philosophical thinkers of our time. In this compelling collection, Wilson's observations range from the tiny glands of ants to the nature of the living universe. Many of the pieces are considered landmarks in evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavioral biology. Wilson explores topics as diverse as slavery in ants, the genetic basis of societal structure, the discovery of the taxon cycle, the original formulation of the theory ...

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Overview

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson is one of the leading biologists and philosophical thinkers of our time. In this compelling collection, Wilson's observations range from the tiny glands of ants to the nature of the living universe. Many of the pieces are considered landmarks in evolutionary biology, ecology, and behavioral biology. Wilson explores topics as diverse as slavery in ants, the genetic basis of societal structure, the discovery of the taxon cycle, the original formulation of the theory of island biogeography, a critique of subspecies as a unit of classification, and the conservation of life's diversity. Each article is presented in its original form, dating from Wilson's first published article in 1949 to his most recent exploration of the natural world. Preceding each piece is a brief essay by Wilson that explains the context in which the article was written and provides insights into the scientist himself and the debates of the time.

This collection enables us to share Wilson's various vantage points and to view the complexities of nature through his eyes. Wilson aficionados, along with readers discovering his work for the first time, will find in this collection a world of beauty, complexity, and challenge.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

British Journal of Entomology and Natural History - J. Stewart
This book is a treasure trove of ideas... It always rewards.
Nature
Nature Revealed demonstrates, again and again, Wilson's endless capacity to put scientific findings into a broader context and to bridge gaps between disciplines.
Choice
This book captures the key elements in this gifted explorer's complex journey so far.
Choice

This book captures the key elements in this gifted explorer's complex journey so far.

Aiken Standard
E.O. Wilson's many contributions to science can hardly be summarized in a newspaper column, but the highlights are well preserved in Nature Revealed.

— Whit Gibbons

Nature

Nature Revealed demonstrates, again and again, Wilson's endless capacity to put scientific findings into a broader context and to bridge gaps between disciplines.

British Journal of Entomology and Natural History
This book is a treasure trove of ideas... It always rewards.

— J. Stewart

Quarterly Review of Biology
Lucid and eminently readable... a valuable primer for those interested in the history of science.
Aiken Standard - Whit Gibbons
E.O. Wilson's many contributions to science can hardly be summarized in a newspaper column, but the highlights are well preserved in Nature Revealed.
Library Journal
This self-selected compilation of writings by Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson (Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge) is organized into three distinct but complementary sections: "Ants and Sociobiology," "Biodiversity Studies," and "Conservation and the Human Condition." Each section is arranged chronologically and showcases the biologist's special talents for extrapolating global theories from arcane and detailed research. The book contains direct reprints and one new piece from sources as varied as primary journals, book chapters, and popular magazines and includes not only some of his most memorable passages (e.g., the "Man" chapter from Sociobiology) but also research-oriented material almost impenetrable to nonscientists. Each piece is prefaced by brief, sometimes cursory remarks from the author. This work suffices as a sampler of and guide to Wilson's thought, though it cannot provide detailed insight at the level of his original research, much less the totality of his social and biological philosophies. Enlightening and thought-provoking, it is probably not the definitive tool for scholars; rather, the material will appeal mostly to his fans, perhaps stimulating further reading, and can fill any gaps in library collections. Readers interested in Wilson's life and career are best served by his memoir, Naturalist.-Gregg Sapp, SUNY at Albany Science Lib. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801883293
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Pages: 736
  • Product dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward O. Wilson is an entomologist and biologist known for his pioneering work on evolution and sociobiology, and is often referred to as the father of sociobiology and modern biodiversity studies. He has authored many books, including Sociobiology: The New Synthesis (1975), On Human Nature (winner of a 1979 Pulitzer Prize), The Ants (winner of a 1991 Pulitzer Prize), and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998). He has received over one hundred awards, many of them international, in science and letters. He is the Pellegrino University Professor Emeritus at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Ants and sociobiology
1 Richteri, the fire ant 3
2 Variation and adaptation in the imported fire ant 6
3 The origin and evolution of polymorphism in ants 19
4 Quantitative studies of liquid food transmission in ants 42
5 The beginnings of nomadic and group-predatory behaviour in the ponerine ants 53
6 Source and possible nature of the odor trail of fire ants 62
7 Chemical communication among workers of the fire ant Solenopsis saevissima (Fr. Smith), 1. The organization of mass-foraging 66
8 Pheromones 82
9 The first Mesozoic ants 94
10 The ergonomics of caste in the social insects 98
11 The prospect for a unified sociobiology 125
12 Slavery in ants 130
13 Sociobiology : the new synthesis 136
14 Sociobiology at century's end 166
15 Human decency is animal 171
16 Behavioral discretization and the number of castes in an ant species 178
17 The organization of colony defense in the ant Pheidole dentata Mayr 194
18 The number of queens : an important trait in ant evolution 214
19 The ethical implications of human sociobiology 223
20 Caste and division of labor in leaf-cutter ants 227
21 Precis of Genes, Mind, and Culture 237
22 The relation between caste ratios and division of labor in the ant genus Pheidole 275
23 The sociogenesis of insect colonies 286
24 Between-caste aversion as a basis for division of labor in the ant Pheidole pubiventris 294
25 The earliest known ants : an analysis of the Cretaceous species and an inference concerning their social organization 298
26 The dominance of social insects 309
27 The effects of complex social life on evolution and biodiversity 323
28 Pheidole nasutoides, a new species of Costa Rican ant that apparently mimics termites 330
29 In memory of William Louis Brown 339
30 Ant plagues : a centuries-old mystery solved 343
Pt. II Biodiversity studies : systematics and biogeography
31 The subspecies concept and its taxonomic application 353
32 Character displacement 370
33 Patchy distributions of ant species in New Guinea rain forests 387
34 The nature of the taxon cycle in the Melanesian ant fauna 401
35 An equilibrium theory of island biogeography 427
36 A consistency test for phylogenies based on contemporaneous species 443
37 The challenge from related species 451
38 An estimate of the potential evolutionary increase in species density in the Polynesian ant fauna 473
39 The species equilibrium 484
40 The plight of taxonomy 495
41 The biogeography of the West Indian ants 497
42 Editor's foreword (from Biodiversity) 515
43 The current state of biological diversity 515
44 Threats to biodiversity 535
45 The high frontier 543
46 The origins of hyperdiversity 574
47 A global biodiversity map 582
48 On the future of conservation biology 582
49 The encyclopedia of life 582
50 Taxonomy as a fundamental discipline 582
Pt. III Conservation and the human condition
51 The conservation of life 595
52 Applied biogeography 603
53 Resolutions for the 80s 617
54 The biological diversity crisis : a challenge to science 619
55 Outcry from a world of wounds 630
56 The little things that run the world 634
57 The coming pluralization of biology and the stewardship of systematics 638
58 Biophilia and the conservation ethic 644
59 Is humanity suicidal? 656
60 Consilience among the great branches of learning 665
61 Integrated science and the coming century of the environment 685
App The published works of Edward O. Wilson 689
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