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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.

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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.

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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.

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Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites

(Second Edition)

Robert Poulin

Parasites have evolved independently in numerous animal lineages, and they now make up a considerable proportion of the biodiversity of life. Not only do they impact humans and other animals in fundamental ways, but in recent years they have become a powerful model system for the study of ecology and evolution, with practical applications in disease prevention. Here, in a thoroughly revised and updated edition of his influential earlier work, Robert Poulin provides an evolutionary ecologist's view of the biology of parasites. He sets forth a comprehensive synthesis of parasite evolutionary ecology, integrating information across scales from the features of individual parasites to the dynamics of parasite populations and the structuring of parasite communities.

Evolutionary Ecology of Parasites presents an evolutionary framework for the study of parasite biology, combining theory with empirical examples for a broader understanding of why parasites are as they are and do what they do. An up-to-date synthesis of the field, the book is an ideal teaching tool for advanced courses on the subject. Pointing toward promising directions and setting a research agenda, it will also be an invaluable reference for researchers who seek to extend our knowledge of parasite ecology and evolution.

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The Evolving Female

A Life History Perspective

Mary Ellen Morbeck

A human female is born, lives her life, and dies within the space of a few decades, but the shape of her life has been strongly influenced by 50 million years of primate evolution and more than 100 million years of mammalian evolution. How the individual female plays out the stages of her life--from infancy, through the reproductive period, to old age--and how these stages have been formed by a long evolutionary process, is the theme of this collection. Written by leading scholars in fields ranging from evolutionary biology to cultural anthropology, these essays together examine what it means to be female, integrating the life histories of marine mammals, monkeys, apes, and humans. The result is a fascinating inquiry into the similarities among the ways females of different species balance the need for survival with their role in reproduction and mothering.

The Evolving Female offers an outlook integrating life history with an intimate examination of female life paths. Behavior, anatomy and physiology, growth and development, cultural identity of women, the individual, and the society are among the topics investigated. In addition to the editors, the contributors are Linda Fedigan, Kathryn Ono, Joanne Reiter, Barbara Smuts, Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa, Mary McDonald Pavelka, Caroline Pond, Robin McFarland, Silvana Borgognini Tarli and Elena Repetto, Gilda Morelli, Patricia Draper, Catherine Panter-Brick, Virginia J. Vitzthum, Alison Jolly, and Beverly McLeod.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Genetic Structure and Selection in Subdivided Populations (MPB-40)

François Rousset

Various approaches have been developed to evaluate the consequences of spatial structure on evolution in subdivided populations. This book is both a review and new synthesis of several of these approaches, based on the theory of spatial genetic structure. François Rousset examines Sewall Wright's methods of analysis based on F-statistics, effective size, and diffusion approximation; coalescent arguments; William Hamilton's inclusive fitness theory; and approaches rooted in game theory and adaptive dynamics. Setting these in a framework that reveals their common features, he demonstrates how efficient tools developed within one approach can be applied to the others.

Rousset not only revisits classical models but also presents new analyses of more recent topics, such as effective size in metapopulations. The book, most of which does not require fluency in advanced mathematics, includes a self-contained exposition of less easily accessible results. It is intended for advanced graduate students and researchers in evolutionary ecology and population genetics, and will also interest applied mathematicians working in probability theory as well as statisticians.

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