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Evolution - the Extended Synthesis Cover

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Evolution - the Extended Synthesis

edited by Massimo Pigliucci and Gerd B. Müller

This continuing revision of a theoretical edifice the foundations of which were laid in the middle of the nineteenth century--the reexamination of old ideas, proposals of new ones, and the synthesis of the most suitable--shows us how science works, and how scientists have painstakingly built a solid set of explanations for what Darwin called the “grandeur” of life.

The Evolution of the Human Placenta Cover

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The Evolution of the Human Placenta

Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin

The development of a fully functional placenta was crucial to the evolution of human beings. It is the active interface of the most biologically intimate connection between two living organisms: a mother and her fetus. The Evolution of the Human Placenta discusses everything from the organ’s methods of protecting the fetus from the mother’s own immune system to placental diseases. Starting with some of the earliest events that have constrained or influenced the path of placental evolution in mammals and progressing to the specifics of the human placenta, this book examines modern gestation within an evolutionary framework. Human beings, in terms of evolution, are a successful, rapidly multiplying species. Our reproductive physiology would appear to be functioning quite well. However, human gestation is fraught with many poor outcomes for both the mother and fetus that appear to be—if not unique—far more common in humans than in other mammals. High rates of early pregnancy loss, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preeclampsia and related maternal hypertension, and preterm birth are rare or absent in other mammals yet quite typical in humans. Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin explore more than 100 million years of evolution that led to the human placenta, and in so doing, they help unravel the mysteries of life's earliest moments.

Evolution's First Philosopher Cover

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Evolution's First Philosopher

John Dewey and the Continuity of Nature

John Dewey was the first philosopher to recognize that Darwin’s thesis about natural selection not only required us to change how we think about ourselves and the life forms around us, but also required a markedly different approach to philosophy. Evolution’s First Philosopher shows how Dewey’s arguments arose from his recognition of the continuity of natural selection and mindedness, from which he developed his concept of growth. Growth, for Dewey, has no end beyond itself and forms the basis of a naturalized theory of ethics. While other philosophers gave some attention to evolutionary theory, it was Dewey alone who saw that Darwinism provides the basis for a naturalized theory of meaning. This, in turn, portends a new account of knowledge, ethics, and democracy. To clarify evolution’s conception of natural selection, Jerome A. Popp looks at brain science and examines the relationship between the genome and experience in terms of the contemporary concepts of preparedness and plasticity. This research shows how comprehensive and penetrating Dewey’s thought was in terms of further consequences for the philosophical method entailed by Darwin’s thesis. Dewey’s foresight is further legitimated when Popp places his work within the context of the current thought of Daniel Dennett.

Experimental Evolution Cover

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Experimental Evolution

Concepts, Methods, and Applications of Selection Experiments

Theodore Garland

Experimental approaches to evolution provide indisputable evidence of evolution by directly observing the process at work. Experimental evolution deliberately duplicates evolutionary processes—forcing life histories to evolve, producing adaptations to stressful environmental conditions, and generating lineage splitting to create incipient species. This unique volume summarizes studies in experimental evolution, outlining current techniques and applications, and presenting the field’s full range of research—from selection in the laboratory to the manipulation of populations in the wild. It provides work on such key biological problems as the evolution of Darwinian fitness, sexual reproduction, life history, athletic performance, and learning.

Forerunners of Mammals Cover

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Forerunners of Mammals

Radiation ? Histology ? Biology

Edited by Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan

About 320 million years ago a group of reptiles known as the synapsids emerged and forever changed Earth's ecological landscapes. This book discusses the origin and radiation of the synapsids from their sail-backed pelycosaur ancestor to their diverse descendants, the therapsids or mammal-like reptiles, that eventually gave rise to mammals. It further showcases the remarkable evolutionary history of the synapsids in the Karoo Basin of South Africa and the environments that existed at the time. By highlighting studies of synapsid bone microstructure, it offers a unique perspective of how such studies are utilized to reconstruct various aspects of biology, such as growth dynamics, biomechanical function, and the attainment of sexual and skeletal maturity. A series of chapters outline the radiation and phylogenetic relationships of major synapsid lineages and provide direct insight into how bone histological analyses have led to an appreciation of these enigmatic animals as once-living creatures. The penultimate chapter examines the early radiation of mammals from their nonmammalian cynodont ancestors, and the book concludes by engaging the intriguing question of when and where endothermy evolved among the therapsids.

From Genesis to Genetics Cover

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From Genesis to Genetics

The Case of Evolution and Creationism

John A. Moore

The clash between evolution and creationism is one of the most hotly contested topics in education today. This book, written by one of America's most distinguished science educators, provides essential background information on this difficult and important controversy. Giving a sweeping and balanced historical look at both schools of thought, John A. Moore shows that faith can exist alongside science, that both are essential to human happiness and fulfillment, but that we must support the teaching of science and the scientific method in our nation's schools. This highly informative book will be an invaluable aid for parents, teachers, and lawmakers, as well as for anyone who wants a better understanding of this debate. From Genesis to Genetics shows us why we must free both science and religion to do the good work for which each is uniquely qualified.

Using accessible language, Moore describes in depth these two schools of thought. He begins with an analysis of the Genesis story, examines other ancient creation myths, and provides a nuanced discussion of the history of biblical interpretation. After looking at the tenets and historical context of creationism, he presents the history of evolutionary thought, explaining how it was developed, what it means, and why it is such a powerful theory. Moore goes on to discuss the relationship of nineteenth-century religion to Darwinism, examine the historic Scopes trial, and take us up to the current controversy over what to teach in schools. Most important, this book also explores options for avoiding confrontations over this issue in the future.

Thoughtfully and powerfully advocating that the teaching of science be kept separate from the teaching of religion, Moore asks us to recognize that a vigorous and effective scientific community is essential to our nation's health, to our leadership role in the world, and to the preservation of a healthy environment.

Gaining Ground, Second Edition Cover

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Gaining Ground, Second Edition

The Origin and Evolution of Tetrapods

Jennifer A. Clack

Around 370 million years ago, a distant relative of a modern lungfish began a most extraordinary adventure—emerging from the water and laying claim to the land. Over the next 70 million years, this tentative beachhead had developed into a worldwide colonization by ever-increasing varieties of four-limbed creatures known as tetrapods, the ancestors of all vertebrate life on land. This new edition of Jennifer A. Clack's groundbreaking book tells the complex story of their emergence and evolution. Beginning with their closest relatives, the lobe-fin fishes such as lungfishes and coelacanths, Clack defines what a tetrapod is, describes their anatomy, and explains how they are related to other vertebrates. She looks at the Devonian environment in which they evolved, describes the known and newly discovered species, and explores the order and timing of anatomical changes that occurred during the fish-to-tetrapod transition.

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The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey

Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans

Christopher Beard

Taking us back roughly 45 million years into the Eocene, "the dawn of recent life," Chris Beard, a world-renowned expert on the primate fossil record, offers a tantalizing new perspective on our deepest evolutionary roots. In a fast-paced narrative full of vivid stories from the field, he reconstructs our extended family tree, showing that the first anthropoids—the diverse and successful group that includes monkeys, apes, and humans—evolved millions of years earlier than was previously suspected and emerged in Asia rather than Africa.

In The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey, Beard chronicles the saga of two centuries of scientific exploration in search of anthropoid origins, from the early work of Georges Cuvier, the father of paleontology, to the latest discoveries in Asia, Africa, and North America's Rocky Mountains. Against this historical backdrop, he weaves the story of how his own expeditions have unearthed crucial fossils—including the controversial primate Eosimias—that support his compelling new vision of anthropoid evolution. The only book written for a wide audience that explores this remote phase of our own evolutionary history, The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey adds a fascinating new chapter to our understanding of humanity's relationship to the rest of life on earth.

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In Pursuit of Early Mammals

Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska

In Pursuit of Early Mammals presents the history of the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic era, the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and describes their origins, anatomy, systematics, paleobiology, and distribution. It also tells the story of the author, a world-renowned specialist on these animals, and the other prominent paleontologists who have studied them. Zofia Kielan-Jaworowska was the first woman to lead large-scale paleontological expeditions, including eight to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, which brought back important collections of dinosaur, early mammal, and other fossils. She shares the difficulties and pleasures encountered in finding rare fossils and describes the changing views on early mammals made possible by these discoveries.

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In quest of Great Lakes Ice Age vertebrates

J. Alan Holman

The first book of its kind, In Quest of Great Lakes Ice Age Vertebrates details the Ice Age fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the provinces and states surrounding the Great Lakes. Holman's work begins with definitions of concepts and terms for the general audience and a general discussion of how the last ice age, the Pleistocene Epoch, affected our physical and biological world. Methods employed and tools used in the collection of vertebrate fossils, as well as ethics and protocol in the maintenance of a useful collection follow, coupled with details of each animal's structure, habits, habitats, and ecological importance. The heart of the book is a species-by-species account of the Pleistocene vertebrates of the region, followed by an examination of the compelling problems of the Pleistocene relative to faunal interpretations, including overall ecological makeup of the region's fauna, vertebrate range adjustment that occurred in the region, Pleistocene extinction effects on the animals of the region, the aftermath of the Ice Age, and a look at what the future may hold for the region.

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