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Origin, Evolution, and Diversity
In this unique book, Peter S. Ungar tells the story of mammalian teeth from their origin through their evolution to their current diversity. Mammal Teeth traces the evolutionary history of teeth, beginning with the very first mineralized vertebrate structures half a billion years ago. Ungar describes how the simple conical tooth of early vertebrates became the molars, incisors, and other forms we see in mammals today. Evolutionary adaptations changed pointy teeth into flatter ones, with specialized shapes designed to complement the corresponding jaw. Ungar explains tooth structure and function in the context of nutritional needs. The myriad tooth shapes produced by evolution offer different solutions to the fundamental problem of how to squeeze as many nutrients as possible out of foods. The book also highlights Ungar's own path-breaking studies that show how microwear analysis can help us understand ancient diets. The final part of the book provides an in-depth examination of mammalian teeth today, surveying all orders in the class, family by family. Ungar describes some of the more bizarre teeth, such as tusks, and the mammal diversity that accompanies these morphological wonders. Mammal Teeth captures the evolution of mammals, including humans, through the prism of dental change. Synthesizing decades of research, Ungar reveals the interconnections among mammal diet, dentition, and evolution. His book is a must-read for paleontologists, mammalogists, and anthropologists.
Molecular studies reveal highly ordered geographic patterns in plant and animal distributions. The tropics illustrate these patterns of community immobilism leading to allopatric differentiation, as well as other patterns of mobilism, range expansion, and overlap of taxa. Integrating Earth history and biogeography, Molecular Panbiogeography of the Tropics is an alternative view of distributional history in which groups are older than suggested by fossils and fossil-calibrated molecular clocks. The author discusses possible causes for the endemism of high-level taxa in tropical America and Madagascar, and overlapping clades in South America, Africa, and Asia. The book concludes with a critique of adaptation by selection, founded on biogeography and recent work in genetics.
The Critical Role of Values in the Economy
Like nature itself, modern economic life is driven by relentless competition and unbridled selfishness. Or is it? Drawing on converging evidence from neuroscience, social science, biology, law, and philosophy, Moral Markets makes the case that modern market exchange works only because most people, most of the time, act virtuously. Competition and greed are certainly part of economics, but Moral Markets shows how the rules of market exchange have evolved to promote moral behavior and how exchange itself may make us more virtuous. Examining the biological basis of economic morality, tracing the connections between morality and markets, and exploring the profound implications of both, Moral Markets provides a surprising and fundamentally new view of economics--one that also reconnects the field to Adam Smith's position that morality has a biological basis. Moral Markets, the result of an extensive collaboration between leading social and natural scientists, includes contributions by neuroeconomist Paul Zak; economists Robert H. Frank, Herbert Gintis, Vernon Smith (winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics), and Bart Wilson; law professors Oliver Goodenough, Erin O'Hara, and Lynn Stout; philosophers William Casebeer and Robert Solomon; primatologists Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal; biologists Carl Bergstrom, Ben Kerr, and Peter Richerson; anthropologists Robert Boyd and Michael Lachmann; political scientists Elinor Ostrom and David Schwab; management professor Rakesh Khurana; computational science and informatics doctoral candidate Erik Kimbrough; and business writer Charles Handy.
A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World
Arms races among invertebrates, intelligence gathering by the immune system and alarm calls by marmots are but a few of nature's security strategies that have been tested and modified over billions of years. This provocative book applies lessons from nature to our own toughest security problems—from global terrorism to the rise of infectious disease to natural disasters. Written by a truly multidisciplinary group including paleobiologists, anthropologists, psychologists, ecologists, and national security experts, it considers how models and ideas from evolutionary biology can improve national security strategies ranging from risk assessment, security analysis, and public policy to long-term strategic goals.
An Economic History
From humans to hermit crabs to deep water plankton, all living things compete for locally limiting resources. This universal truth unites three bodies of thought--economics, evolution, and history--that have developed largely in mutual isolation. Here, Geerat Vermeij undertakes a groundbreaking and provocative exploration of the facts and theories of biology, economics, and geology to show how processes common to all economic systems--competition, cooperation, adaptation, and feedback--govern evolution as surely as they do the human economy, and how historical patterns in both human and nonhuman evolution follow from this principle.
Using a wealth of examples of evolutionary innovations, Vermeij argues that evolution and economics are one. Powerful consumers and producers exercise disproportionate controls on the characteristics, activities, and distribution of all life forms. Competition-driven demand by consumers, when coupled with supply-side conditions permitting economic growth, leads to adaptation and escalation among organisms. Although disruptions in production halt or reverse these processes temporarily, they amplify escalation in the long run to produce trends in all economic systems toward greater power, higher production rates, and a wider reach for economic systems and their strongest members.
Despite our unprecedented power to shape our surroundings, we humans are subject to all the economic principles and historical trends that emerged at life's origin more than 3 billion years ago. Engagingly written, brilliantly argued, and sweeping in scope, Nature: An Economic History shows that the human institutions most likely to preserve opportunity and adaptability are, after all, built like successful living things.
The Mystery of Animal Navigation
We know that animals cross miles of water, land, and sky with pinpoint precision on a daily basis. But it is only in recent years that scientists have learned how these astounding feats of navigation are actually accomplished. With colorful and thorough detail, Nature's Compass explores the remarkable methods by which animals find their way both near home and around the globe. Noted biologist James Gould and popular science writer Carol Gould delve into the elegant strategies and fail-safe backup systems, the invisible sensitivities and mysterious forces, and incredible mental abilities used by familiar and rare species, as they investigate a multitude of navigation strategies, from the simple to the astonishing.
The Goulds discuss how animals navigate, without instruments and training, at a level far beyond human talents. They explain how animals measure time and show how the fragile monarch butterfly employs an internal clock, calendar, compass, and map to commence and measure the two-thousand-mile annual journey to Mexico--all with a brain that weighs only a few thousandths of an ounce. They look at honey bees and how they rely on the sun and mental maps to locate landmarks such as nests and flowers. And they examine whether long-distance migrants, such as the homing pigeon, depend on a global positioning system to let them know where they are. Ultimately, the authors ask if the disruption of migratory paths through habitat destruction and global warming is affecting and endangering animal species.
Providing a comprehensive picture of animal navigation and migration, Nature's Compass decodes the mysteries of this extraordinary aspect of natural behavior.
The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium
Easily distinguished by the horns and frills on their skulls, ceratopsians were one of the most successful of all dinosaurs. This volume presents a broad range of cutting-edge research on the functional biology, behavior, systematics, paleoecology, and paleogeography of the horned dinosaurs, and includes descriptions of newly identified species.
John Avise is one of the most distinguished evolutionary biologists of our time. His groundbreaking work with mitochondrial DNA created the entire discipline of phylogeography and his work on the Pleistocene refugia hypothesis redirected scientific thinking about patterns of distribution. Spanning a remarkable thirty-five-year career, the essays gathered here were rewritten from his previously published articles and represent the first single-volume collection of Avise's work. Moving through various questions in evolutionary biology, these eclectic essays reveal Avise's unique perspectives on major topics in the field. From how to define a species to the folly of faulty applications of cladistics to connections between conservation and evolutionary biology, On Evolution takes the reader on a personal journey into the mind of one of the world's leading evolutionists.
Growing Up Evolutionist in an Evolving World
In this book, Rudolf A. Raff reaches out to the scientifically queasy, using his life story and his growth as a scientist to illustrate why science matters, especially at a time when many Americans are both suspicious of science and hostile to scientific ways of thinking. Noting that science has too often been the object of controversy in school curriculums and debates on public policy issues ranging from energy and conservation to stem-cell research and climate change, Raff argues that when the public is confused or ill-informed, these issues tend to be decided on religious, economic, and political grounds that disregard the realities of the natural world. Speaking up for science and scientific literacy, Raff tells how and why he became an evolutionary biologist and describes some of the vibrant and living science of evolution. Once We All Had Gills is also the story of evolution writ large: its history, how it is studied, what it means, and why it has become a useful target in a cultural war against rational thought and the idea of a secular, religiously tolerant nation.