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Science, Technology, and Mathematics > Evolution

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Am I a Monkey? Cover

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Am I a Monkey?

Six Big Questions about Evolution

Francisco J. Ayala

Despite the ongoing cultural controversy in America, evolution remains a cornerstone of science. In this book, Francisco J. Ayala—an evolutionary biologist, member of the National Academy of Sciences, and winner of the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize—cuts to the chase in a daring attempt to address, in nontechnical language, six perennial questions about evolution: • Am I a Monkey? • Why Is Evolution a Theory? • What Is DNA? • Do All Scientists Accept Evolution? • How Did Life Begin? • Can One Believe in Evolution and God? This to-the-point book answers each of these questions with force. Ayala's occasionally biting essays refuse to lend credence to disingenuous ideas and arguments. He lays out the basic science that underlies evolutionary theory, explains how the process works, and soundly makes the case for why evolution is not a threat to religion. Brief, incisive, topical, authoritative, Am I a Monkey? will take you a day to read and a lifetime to ponder.

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Beyond Cladistics

The Branching of a Paradigm

David M. Williams

Cladistics, or phylogenetic systematics—an approach to discovering, unraveling, and testing hypotheses of evolutionary history—took hold during a turbulent and acrimonious time in the history of systematics. During this period—the 1960s and 1970s—much of the foundation of modern systematic methodology was established as cladistic approaches became widely accepted. Virtually complete by the end of the 1980s, the wide perception has been that little has changed. This volume vividly illustrates that cladistic methodologies have continued to be developed, improved upon, and effectively used in ever widening analytically imaginative ways.

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Biology at Work

Rethinking Sexual Equality

Kingsley R. Browne

Does biology help explain why women, on average, earn less money than men? Is there any evolutionary basis for the scarcity of female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies? According to Kingsley Browne, the answer may be yes.

Biology at Work brings an evolutionary perspective to bear on issues of women in the workplace: the "glass ceiling," the "gender gap" in pay, sexual harassment, and occupational segregation. While acknowledging the role of discrimination and sexist socialization, Browne suggests that until we factor real biological differences between men and women into the equation, the explanation remains incomplete.

Browne looks at behavioral differences between men and women as products of different evolutionary pressures facing them throughout human history. Womens biological investment in their offspring has led them to be on average more nurturing and risk averse, and to value relationships over competition. Men have been biologically rewarded, over human history, for displays of strength and skill, risk taking, and status acquisition. These behavioral differences have numerous workplace consequences. Not surprisingly, sex differences in the drive for status lead to sex differences in the achievement of status.

Browne argues that decision makers should recognize that policies based on the assumption of a single androgynous human nature are unlikely to be successful. Simply removing barriers to inequality will not achieve equality, as women and men typically value different things in the workplace and will make different workplace choices based on their different preferences.

Rather than simply putting forward the "nature" side of the debate, Browne suggests that dichotomies such as nature/nurture have impeded our understanding of the origins of human behavior. Through evolutionary biology we can understand not only how natural selection has created predispositions toward certain types of behavior but also how the social environment interacts with these predispositions to produce observed behavioral patterns.

 

Charles Darwin Cover

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Charles Darwin

The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man

Tim M. Berra

Two hundred years after Charles Darwin's birth (February 12, 1809), this thoroughly illustrated, yet concise biography reveals the great scientist as husband, father, and friend. Tim M. Berra, whose "Darwin: The Man" lectures are in high demand worldwide, tells the fascinating story of the person and the idea that changed everything. Berra discusses Darwin’s revolutionary scientific work, its impact on modern-day biological science, and the influence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory on Western thought. But Berra digs deeper to reveal Darwin the man by combining anecdotes with carefully selected illustrations and photographs. This small gem of a book includes 20 color plates and 60 black-and-white illustrations, along with an annotated list of Darwin’s publications and a chronology of his life.

Convergent Evolution Cover

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Convergent Evolution

Limited Forms Most Beautiful

George McGhee

An analysis of convergent evolution from molecules to ecosystems, demonstrating the limited number of evolutionary pathways available to life.

Darwin's Pharmacy Cover

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Darwin's Pharmacy

Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere

By Richard M. Doyle

This book inquires into the swarm of ontological, epistemological, and ethical questions provoked by psychedelic experience in the context of global ecological crisis. Richard M. Doyle is professor of English and science, technology, and society at Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of On Beyond Living and Wetwares.

Early Hominin Paleoecology Cover

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Early Hominin Paleoecology

Edited by Matthew Sponhiemer, Julia A. Lee-Thorpe, Kaye E. Reed, and Peter Ungar

An introduction to the multidisciplinary field of hominin paleoecology for advanced undergraduate students and beginning graduate students, Early Hominin Paleoecology offers an up‐to‐date review of the relevant literature, exploring new research and synthesizing old and new ideas.

Recent advances in the field and the laboratory are not only improving our understanding of human evolution but are also transforming it. Given the increasing specialization of the individual fields of study in hominin paleontology, communicating research results and data is difficult, especially to a broad audience of graduate students, advanced undergraduates, and the interested public. Early Hominin Paleoecology provides a good working knowledge of the subject while also presenting a solid grounding in the sundry ways this knowledge has been constructed. The book is divided into three sections—climate and environment (with a particular focus on the latter), adaptation and behavior, and modern analogs and models—and features contributors from various fields of study, including archaeology, primatology, paleoclimatology, sedimentology, and geochemistry.

Early Hominin Paleoecology is an accessible entrée into this fascinating and ever-evolving field and will be essential to any student interested in pursuing research in human paleoecology.

Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China Cover

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Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China

By Hong Shang and Erik Trinkaus

For more than a century, scientists have returned time and again to the issue of modern human emergence-the when and where of the evolutionary process and the human behavioral and biological dynamics involved. The 2003 discovery of a human partial skeleton at Tianyuandong (Tianyuan Cave) excited worldwide interest. The first human skeleton from the region to be directly radiocarbon-dated (to 40,000 years before present), its geological age places it close to the time period during which modern humans became permanently established across the Old World (between 50,000 and 35,000 years ago). Through detailed description and interpretation of the most complete early modern human skeleton from eastern Asia, The Early Modern Human from Tianyan Cave, China, addresses long-term questions about the ancestry of modern humans in eastern Asia and the nature of the changes in human behavior with the emergence of modern human biology. This book is a detailed, paleontological and paleobiological presentation of this skeleton, its context, and its implications. By providing basic information for this important human fossil, offering inferences concerning the population processes involved in modern human emergence in eastern Eurasia, and by raising questions concerning the adaptations of these early modern human hunter-gatherers, The Early Modern Human from Tianyuan Cave, China will take its place as a core contribution to the study of modern human emergence.

Ecologies of Urbanism in India Cover

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Ecologies of Urbanism in India

Metropolitan Civility and Sustainability

Edited by ANNE M. RADEMACHER AND K. SIVARAMAKRISHNAN,

Essays follow rapidly proliferating and resource-intensive Indian urbanism on everyday environments. Case studies on nature conservation in cities, urban housing and slum development, waste management, urban planning, and contestations over the quality of air, water, and sanitation in Delhi and Mumbai illuminate urban ecology per­spectives thoughout the twentieth century. The collection highlights how struggles over the environment and one’s quality of life in urban centers are increasingly framed in terms of their future place in a landscape of global sustainability. The text brings histori­cal particularity and ethnographic nuance to questions of urban ecology and offers novel insight into theoretical and practical debates on urbanism and sustainability.

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Epigenetics

Linking Genotype and Phenotype in Development and Evolution

Benedikt Hallgrimsson Ph.D.

Illuminating the processes and patterns that link genotype to phenotype, epigenetics seeks to explain features, characters, and developmental mechanisms that can only be understood in terms of interactions that arise above the level of the gene. With chapters written by leading authorities, this volume offers a broad integrative survey of epigenetics. Approaching this complex subject from a variety of perspectives, it presents a broad, historically grounded view that demonstrates the utility of this approach for understanding complex biological systems in development, disease, and evolution. Chapters cover such topics as morphogenesis and organ formation, conceptual foundations, and cell differentiation, and together demonstrate that the integration of epigenetics into mainstream developmental biology is essential for answering fundamental questions about how phenotypic traits are produced.

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