The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History

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Overview

"There is grandeur in this view of life," wrote Charles Darwin in the last line of THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, "with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one."

In THE PANDA'S THUMB, Gould delights and instructs while deepening and extending his examination of evolution, a centerpiece of modern science. Were dinosaurs really dumber than lizards? Why are roughly the same number of men and women born? What do the panda's magical "thumb" and the sea turtle's perilous migration tell ...

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Overview

"There is grandeur in this view of life," wrote Charles Darwin in the last line of THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES, "with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one."

In THE PANDA'S THUMB, Gould delights and instructs while deepening and extending his examination of evolution, a centerpiece of modern science. Were dinosaurs really dumber than lizards? Why are roughly the same number of men and women born? What do the panda's magical "thumb" and the sea turtle's perilous migration tell us about imperfections that prove the evolutionary rule?

"These questions of life lie on a continuum that touches us all. Seldom have their mysteries been explained with such wit, beauty and elegance." (Publisher's Source)

With sales of well over one million copies in North America alone, the commercial success of Gould's books now matches their critical acclaim. Reissued in a larger format, with a handsome new cover, The Panda's Thumb will introduce a new generation of readers to this unique writer, who has taken the art of the scientific essay to new heights. Illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
“It is a wonder what Mr. Gould can do with the most unlikely phenomena: a tiny organism's use of the earth's magnetic field as a guide to food and comfort, for instance, or the panda's thumb—which isn't one. . . . Science writing at its best.”
New York Times Book Review
Stephen Jay Gould is a serious and gifted interpreter of biological theory, of the history of ideas and of the cultural context of scientific discovery. . . . The Panda's Thumb is fresh and mind-stretching. Above all, it is exultant. So should its readers be.— H. Jack Geiger
H. Jack Geiger - New York Times Book Review
“Stephen Jay Gould is a serious and gifted interpreter of biological theory, of the history of ideas and of the cultural context of scientific discovery. . . . The Panda's Thumb is fresh and mind-stretching. Above all, it is exultant. So should its readers be.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393982022
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999

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.

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Customer Reviews

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