The National Center for Science Education has reviewed and selected a variety of books and other items for people interested in evolution, science, and the evolution/creation controversy. Notes about some of our most popular books help you choose the right one for you; some titles are linked to book reviews -- watch this page for new reviews from time to time. Look here for special items you may not be able to buy in your local bookstore!
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Brian J. Alters and Sandra M. AltersDefending Evolution in the Classroom is a necessity for anyone concerned with evolution education. The late Ernst Mayr wrote, “This book should be in the hands of every educator dealing with the subject of evolution,” and Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of NCSE, agreed: “At last a book for teachers to help them cope with antievolutionism. Clearly written and filled with practical advice about the underlying religious and scientific issues prompting student questions, Defending Evolution should be on every teacher’s bookshelf.” A member of NCSE’s board of directors, Brian J. Alters directs the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University.
Cameron M. Smith and Charles SullivanFrom the publisher: “In this concise, accessible, ‘myth-buster’s handbook,’ educators Cameron M Smith and Charles Sullivan clearly dispel the ten most common myths about evolution, which continue to mislead average Americans. Using a refreshing, jargon-free style, they set the record straight on claims that evolution is ‘just a theory,’ that Darwinian explanations of life undercut morality, that Intelligent Design is a legitimate alternative to conventional science, that humans come from chimpanzees, and six other popular but erroneous notions. Smith and Sullivan’s reader-friendly, solidly researched text will serve as an important tool, both for teachers and laypersons seeking accurate information about evolution.”
The National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of MedicineDesigned to give the public a comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the current scientific understanding of evolution and its importance in the science classroom, Science, Evolution, and Creationism is twice as long as the second edition (published in 1999 as Science and Creationism), and teems with new examples of the predictive power and practical importance of evolution. Addressing creationism in its various forms, it concludes, “No scientific evidence supports these viewpoints,” and insists, “Given the importance of science in all aspects of modern life, the science curriculum should not be undermined with nonscientific material.”
Sean B. CarrollOne of the principal architects of evolutionary developmental biology ("evo devo"), Sean B. Carroll is the ideal guide -- informed, chatty, and witty -- to what’s often described as "the third revolution" in evolutionary biology. The reviewer for American Scientist wrote, "Carroll has brilliantly achieved what he set out to do ... Evo devo is fundamental to understanding the biological world we live in, including ourselves. This is a beautiful and very important book." Endless Forms Most Beautiful was named a top science book of 2005 by both USA Today and Discover magazine. Carroll is also the author of The Making of the Fittest.
Sean B. CarrollIn the preface to The Making of the Fittest, Sean B. Carroll writes, "With DNA science penetrating so many facets of everyday life, it is again time for a new departure and to seek facts of a new kind. My goal in this book is to present a body of new facts about evolution gathered from DNA evidence. ... The body of new evidence I will describe in this book clinches the case for biological evolution as the basis for life's diversity, beyond any reasonable doubt." "With fervor and clarity, Carroll amasses a glut of facts to refute the twisted logic of the anti-Darwinist camp," applauded the reviewer for Discover.
Randy Moore and Janice MooreRandy Moore and Janice Moore's Evolution 101 aims, in the words of its publisher, to provide "readers -- whether students new to the field or just interested members of the lay public -- with the essential ideas of evolution using a minimum of jargon and mathematics." It succeeds marvelously. The reviewer for NSTA Recommends writes, "Seldom is a book so well written and so well researched that it ought to be required reading for every thinking person,” adding, “Not only should every high school, community, and university library have a copy of Evolution 101 but every science teacher in the country should as well."
Steve OlsonIntended as a supplement to Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science, Evolution in Hawaii focuses on the Hawaiian islands as laboratories of evolution in the wild. Included is a speciation exercise in which, as the preface describes it, "Using real genetic data from 18 species of Drosophila flies in Hawaii, students draw evolutionary trees depicting the relationships of the species and investigate the link between speciation and the ages of the Hawaiian islands. By letting students explore the mechanisms involved in the origin of species, the teaching exercise demonstrates how descent from a common ancestor can produce organisms with widely varying characteristics."
Tijs GoldschmidtLike the finches of the Galápagos, the cichlids of Lake Victoria have descended from a recent common ancestor, and radiated, spectacularly, across the range of available ecological niches. In Darwin's Dreampond, Tijs Goldschmidt not only explains the evolution and the ecology of the Lake Victoria cichlids, but also engagingly relates his adventures and misadventures as a researcher in the field. Mark Ridley comments, "The biological story itself is fascinating, and Mr Goldschmidt tells it well. But the genius of his book lies in the way he has combined the science with travel writing. He interleaves the two in a highly readable way, so that his Tanzanian experiences lighten the science."
Menno SchilthuizenIn Frogs, Flies, and Dandelions, Menno Schilthuizen provides a lively and accessible introduction to contemporary controversies over modes of speciation, arguing in the process for the validity of sympatric speciation (a position taken by Darwin himself, but widely rejected nowadays). Reviewing the book in RNCSE (2003 Jan/Feb; 23 : 37-8), John Wilkins wrote, "The arguments are presented in this book with as much attention to detail -- and to both the biology and the personalities -- as any book I have even seen. Schilthuizen is that extreme rarity -- a biologist who writes entertainingly and clearly for lay audiences."
edited by Daniel J. Howard and Stewart H. BerlocherThe publisher writes, "This volume presents the newest research findings on speciation bringing readers up to date on species concepts, modes of speciation, and the nature of reproductive barriers. It also discusses the forces that drive divergence of populations, the genetic control of reproductive isolation, and the role played by hybrid zones and hybridization in speciation." After a historical introduction, there are essays on five themes: species concepts; geography, ecology, and population structure; reproductive barriers; hybrid zones and speciation; and "perspectives" -- including a personal memoir by Guy Bush, a champion of sympatric speciation, to whom the book is dedicated.
Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen OrrSpeciation is again at the forefront of evolutionary research, and Jerry A. Coyne and H. Allen Orr's Speciation is a unified, critical, and up-to-date account of the scientific research relevant to the origin of species. Reviewing the book in RNCSE (2005 May-Aug; 25 [3-4]: 40-41), Norman A Johnson wrote, "Jerry Coyne and Allen Orr, who have alone and together made several seminal discoveries in speciation, have written a magisterial, comprehensive volume ... Had Coyne and Orr just published their annotated bibliography, that would be a great service for professional evolutionary biologists and their students. But they do so much more!"
edited by Hillary E. Sussman and Maria E. SmitFrom the publisher, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press: "Hundreds of genomes have been completely sequenced in the past decade, significantly advancing our understanding of genome structure and function. Genomes comprises a collection of review articles reprinted from the 10th Anniversary Issue of the journal Genome Research that captures the status of genomic research in a selection of model species -- from microbes to human. Written by renowned leaders in the field of genomics, each chapter focuses on what has been learned from the genomes of a given kingdom, group, or species and offers a unique perspective on the history, the current status, and the future of genomic research efforts."
Matt RidleyIn his preface to Genome, Matt Ridley -- the zoologist-turned-science-writer who wrote The Red Queen and The Origin of Virtue -- describes the original plan for his book: "Why not try to tell the unfolding story of the human genome, now being discovered in detail for the first time, chromosome by chromosome, by picking a gene from each chromosome to fit the story as it is told?" And that is what precisely he did, in clear, instructive, and lively prose. James Watson praised Genome as "[a] lucid and exhilarating romp through our 23 human chromosomes that lets us see how nature and nurture combine to make us human."
Rob Desalle and Michael YudellIn their lively and illustrated introduction to genomics, Rob Desalle and Michael Yudell discuss how the genomic revolution came to pass, what it amounts to, and what prospects and perils await. The reviewer for Natural History described Welcome to the Genome as "engagingly written and illustrated in full-color ... an essential guide for those who want to understand -- and participate in -- the accelerating promise of the genomic revolution." DeSalle curated the American Museum of Natural History's Genomics Revolution exhibit; Yudell is a professor of public health at Drexel University; and together they edited The Genomic Revolution: Unveiling the Unity of Life (Washington DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2002).
Lynn Helena CaporaleThe title of the prologue to Darwin in the Genome encapsulates the thesis of the book nicely: "Chance favors the prepared genome." The publisher writes, "Written by a molecular biologist at the forefront of genomics research, Darwin in the Genome is an exciting account of one of the hottest new theories in biology today: evolution by natural selection inevitably leads to strategic mutations. In the struggle for survival, from pathogens to flowers, birds to orangutans, baker's yeast to people, the fittest genomes are those that evolve effective molecular strategies that respond to, and in fact anticipate, challenges and opportunities in their environments."
Nick LaneFrom the publisher: "Power, Sex, Suicide, Complexity, Individuality, Fertility, Prehistory, Ageing, Death. These universal themes are all linked by mitochondria -- the tiny structures located inside our cells -- miniature powerhouses that use oxygen to generate power. ... Once considered menial slaves, mere workhorses for complex cells with nuclei, their significance is now undergoing a radical revision. Mitochondria are now seen as the key ingredient that made complex life possible at all. ... This is a book full of startling insights into the nature and evolution of life, and should be read by anyone who wants to know why we're here."
edited by Robert V. Miller and Martin J. DayPublished by the American Society for Microbiology in 2004, Microbial Evolution is a state-of-the-art compilation on the evolution of bacteria, containing twenty-two essays under four broad rubrics: intracellular mechanisms for generating diversity, intercellular mechanisms for gene movement, mechanisms for gene establishment and survival, and mechanisms for detecting genetic diversity. It is suitable for classroom use, the editors explain: "we have asked the contributors to address questions, identify important evolutionary points, and differentiate what we understand from what we do not." Moreover, the contributors provide scientific and historical references as well as questions for further study, and the editors summarize the themes and highlights of each section of the book.
Lynn MargulisIn Symbiotic Planet, a book in the Science Masters series of popularizations, Lynn Margulis argues that symbiosis is crucial to the emergence of evolutionary novelty, from the eukaryotic cell to, controversially, the planet itself. ("Gaia is just symbiosis as seen from space," as one of her students offered.) Kirkus Reviews writes, “This is vintage Margulis -- personal, autobiographical, passionate, argumentative, at times over the top, but full of ideas -- at least some of which, in the past, have proved to be right." A Supporter of NCSE, Margulis is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Frederic BushmanAlthough lateral gene transfer was observed in bacteria almost fifty years ago, only recently are biologists beginning to appreciate its extent and significance. In Lateral DNA Transfer, Frederic Bushman provides a helpfully selective introduction to LGT; as the reviewer for Nature Cell Biology comments, "Rather than attempting to be an exhaustive resource for researchers in the field, his book aptly samples from the vast literature and takes special efforts to make it palatable and relevant to a wide audience." Bushman discusses LGT in bacteria and archaea, in eukaryotes (including a chapter on LGT and the AIDS epidemic), and even among the domains of life.
Stuart A Kauffman"The emerging sciences of complexity begin to suggest," Kauffman writes, "that the order [of the biological world] is not at all accidental, that vast veins of spontaneous order lie at hand. Laws of complexity spontaneously generate much of the order of the natural world. ... Such veins of spontaneous order have not been entirely unknown, yet they are just beginning to emerge as powerful new clues to the origins and evolution of life." Stephen Jay Gould wrote, "Kauffman has done more than anyone else to supply the key missing piece of the propensity for self-organization that can join the random and the deterministic forces of evolution into a satisfactory theory of life's order."
from NSTA and BSCSNew for 2005, it's The Nature of Science and the Study of Biological Evolution, which -- as its title indicates -- adroitly interleaves a discussion of the nature of science with a broad perspective on evolution. Consisting of a text for high school students and a CD–ROM for teachers, the material discusses the nature and methods of science, the development of the theory of evolution, seven lines of evidence that converge on evolution, population genetics, natural selection, and primate and human evolution. Both the text and the CD–ROM are imbued with the pedagogical acumen characteristic of the NSTA and the BSCS.
from the National Academies of SciencePublished in 1998 under the auspices of the National Academies of Science, which provides authoritative scientific advice to the federal government, Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science is addressed to "the teachers, other educators, and policy makers who design, deliver, and oversee classroom instruction in biology. It summarizes the overwhelming observational evidence for evolution and suggests effective ways of teaching the subject. It explains the nature of science and describes how science differs from other human endeavors. It provides answers to frequently asked questions about evolution and the nature of science and offers guidance on how to analyze and select teaching materials."
Douglas J. FutuymaFrom the publisher: "Evolution is a readily recognized descendant of the author's previous textbook, Evolutionary Biology. However, it is much shorter and is exclusively directed toward an undergraduate audience. Teachers and students will find the list of important concepts and terms in each chapter a helpful guide, and will appreciate the radically different dynamic figures and lively photographs. The content of all chapters has been updated, and material has been reorganized into new chapters such as 'Conflict and Cooperation' and 'How To Be Fit.' ... A new final chapter on 'Evolutionary Science, Creationism, and Society' treats such topics as the nature of science and the practical applications of evolutionary biology."
Sean B. Carroll, Jennifer K. Grenier, and Scott D. Weatherbee"Animals diverge from common ancestry through changes in their DNA, but what are the genes that control morphology?" That is the question that From DNA to Diversity seeks to investigate by synthesizing evolutionary biology with genetics and embryology. "With almost poetic ease, the authors tell a highly complex story without distorting its scientific substance. The story lines starts from the large scale features of the history of life, goes through the levels of biological hierarchy all the way to the details of gene regulation and emerges with a deeper understanding of biological diversity," writes Günther Wagner: "In Sean Carroll developmental evolution has found its Darwin."
Teaching Biological Evolution in Higher Education: Methodological, Religious, and Nonreligious Issues
Brian AltersFrom the publisher: "An important new book by the author of the bestselling text Defending Evolution: A Guide to the Creation/Evolution Controversy, Teaching Biological Evolution in Higher Education examines the controversial issues surrounding this central concept of life science; explores students' common scientific misconceptions; describes approaches for teaching topics and principles of evolution, and offers strategies for handling the various problems some students have with the idea of evolution due to religious influences. This book is an indispensable resource for all instructors who teach aspects of biological evolution in their college courses." Brian J. Alters directs the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University.
Donald Culross PeattieOriginally published in 1939 and still in print, Flowering Earth traces the evolution of plant life from the appearance of the earliest microorganisms to the rise of the modern floras, adroitly interweaving natural history, biography, and philosophical reflection en route. Mark Van Doren placed Donald Culross Peattie (1898–1964) as a nature writer in the ranks of Gilbert White, Henry David Thoreau, John Burroughs, W. H. Hudson, Richard Jeffries, and John Muir. The Indiana University Press edition features a new foreword by Charles B. Heiser and a new afterword by Noel Peattie, as well as wood engravings by Paul Landacre.
Charles DarwinIn The Various Contrivances (1862), Darwin provided specific reasons for his belief "that it is apparently a universal law of nature that organic beings require an occasional cross with another individual; or, which is almost the same thing, that no hermaphrodite fertilises itself for a perpetuity of generations. ... This treatise affords me also an opportunity of attempting to show that the study of organic beings may be as interesting to an observer who is fully convinced that the structure of each is due to secondary laws, as to one who views every trifling detail of structure as the result of the direct interposition of the Creator."
E. J. H. CornerFrom the publisher: “EJH Corner’s perennial favorite The Life of Plants, copiously stocked with now-classic botanical illustrations, is one of the most fascinating and original introductions to the world of plants ever produced -- from the botanist to the amateur, no reader will finish this book without gaining a much richer understanding of plants, their history, and their relationship with the environments around them." Originally published in 1964, the new edition of The Life of Plants from the University of Chicago Press features a new foreword by Karl J. Niklas, author of The Evolutionary Biology of Plants.
William D. TidwellFirst published in 1975, the revised second edition of Common Fossil Plants of Western North America added 79 new genera and over 350 illustrations (bringing the total to over 800). For anyone interested in hunting and identifying fossil plants, especially west of the Mississippi, Tidwell’s reference is simply a necessity. The reviewer for Plant Science Bulletin describes it as “an absolute must for all paleobotanists and botanical libraries (even if you already have the first edition), for all amateur collectors of fossil plants, as well as for any botanists with a fancy for ancient plants.” The author is Professor of Botany at Brigham Young University.
Wilson N. Stewart and Gar W. RothwellStewart and Rothwell’s popular paleobotany textbook, now in its second edition, describes and explains the origin and evolution of plants as revealed by the fossil record and reviews the paleobotanical data that informs our present understanding of the relationships between the major plant groups. Supplemented with line illustrations, half-tones, and summary charts. The reviewer for American Scientist writes, "I recommend it as an excellent text and as a valuable reference work for those in related fields," and the reviewer for The Scientist concurs: "I have seldom read a textbook with such enthusiasm and I shall recommend it to students and staff alike."
Frank J. DanielsA lavishly illustrated guide to petrified wood, suitable both for the collector’s reference shelf and for the coffee table. The author writes, "While a beautiful, well-silicified, gem quality, colorful branch of petrified wood is now a rock, it once was part of a tree -- a tree that may have been growing in a distant forest over 200 million years ago. Some of these trees grew when the continents of the earth were joined into one. It is difficult to imagine the events that allowed these petrifications to occur and the forces that later allowed them to be unearthed. Each specimen has a story of its own."
Paul Kenrick and Peter R. CraneFrom the publisher, Smithsonian Institution Press: "Illustrated with line drawings and complete with appendices detailing the morphology of early fossil plants and their living relatives, The Origin and Early Diversification of Land Plants discusses the implications of its phylogenetic conclusions for understanding the evolution of land plant structure, life cycles, the appearance of groups in the fossil record, biogeographic patterns, and related geological events." Kenrick and Crane won the Henry Allan Gleason Award, conferred annually by the New York Botanical Garden for a recent outstanding publication in plant taxonomy, plant ecology, or plant geography, in 1997.
Patricia G. Gensel and Dianne Edwards, editorsGensel and Edwards’s anthology collects 13 papers originally presented at the Fifth International Organization of Paleobotany Conference in 1996, dealing with the invasion of the land by plant life. "The essays in this collection," writes the publisher, "present a synthesis of our present state of knowledge, integrating current information in paleobotany with physical, chemical, and geological data." According to the reviewer for Choice, "[Gensel and Edwards have] accomplished what often eludes editors ... they have developed a cohesive, comprehensive, and scientifically satisfying story. ... Appropriate for the serious student ... and a valuable resource and think-piece for instructors and researchers in the field."
David Briggs and Stuart Max WaltersFirst published in 1969 and now in its third edition, Briggs and Walters’s classic text is fully up-to-date with coverage of the implications of molecular biology for plant variation and evolution. The reviewer for the Journal of Plant Physiology describes Plant Variation and Evolution as “suitable for university students in Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Botany and Plant Biology. It is particularly a useful book for updates. The book is highly recommended for the professional practitioner in the field as a background, for plant physiologists and people in related fields it provides a thorough review of the field as it now stands.”
K. J. Willis and J. C. McElwainThe reviewer for Current Books on Gardening & Botany describes The Evolution of Plants as "a magnificent review of recent research in paleobotany, paleogeography, paleoecology and paleoclimatology -- all focused on plants. It is an exciting synthesis, with plenty of illustrations, of the history of plants on Earth for the past 430 or so million years." Topics include the evolutionary record and methods of reconstruction, earliest forms of plant life, the colonization of land, the first forests, major emergence of the seed plants, flowering plant origins, the past 65 million years, mass extinctions and persistent populations, ancient DNA and the biomolecular record, and evolutionary theories and the plant fossil record.
Karl J. NiklasThe reviewer for American Scientist describes The Evolutionary Biology of Plants as "a well-thought-out and elegantly written guide to the origins and causes of diversity among plant groups [that] allows us to grapple with the logic behind evolutionary change. Niklas weaves a discourse on evolutionary principles, illustrated with liberal examples from the plant kingdom of how evolutionary forces shape the structural innovations that characterize these organisms." Topics include adaptive evolution, species and speciation, origins and early events, the invasion of land and air, the aquatic landscape, the terrestrial landscape, divergence and convergence, and tempos and patterns. Niklas is the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of Plant Biology at Cornell University.
Roland Ennos and Elizabeth SheffieldFrom the publisher: "There are almost one third of a million species of plants, which range in form from unicellular algae a few microns in diameter to gigantic trees that can grow to a height of 100 meters. Plant Life makes sense of the bewildering diversity of plants by treating them not just as photosynthetic factories, but as living organisms that are the survivors of millions of years of evolutionary struggle. The book examines plants from an evolutionary perspective to show how such a wide range of life forms has evolved and continues to thrive." Lavishly illustrated with color plates, electron micrographs, and line drawings.
John A. MooreFrom the publisher: "For the past twenty-five years John Moore has taught biology instructors how to teach biology -- by emphasizing the questions people have asked about life through the ages and the ways natural philosophers and scientists have sought the answers. This book makes Moore's uncommon wisdom available to students in a lively and richly illustrated account of the history and workings of life. Employing a breadth of rhetoric strategies -- including vividly written case histories, hypotheses and deductions, and chronological narrative -- Science as a Way of Knowing provides not only a cultural history of biology but also a splendid introduction to the procedures and values of science."
Theodosius DobzhanskyOriginally published in 1937 (before the discovery of the structure of DNA) and reissued by Columbia University Press in 1982 with a new introduction by Stephen Jay Gould, Dobzhansky’s book advanced a comprehensive account of the evolutionary process in terms of genetics. By citing experimental evidence to support the theoretical arguments of Sewall Wright, J. B. S. Haldane, and R. A. Fisher, Genetics and the Origin of Species was one of the seminal works of the modern synthesis, prompting a surge of evolutionary studies throughout biology. A classic of enduring value.
Stephen R. PalumbiA critical look at the intersection of evolution and high-tech modern life. Evolution is not only the slow process that ruled the rise and fall of the dinosaurs over hundreds of millions of years. It also happens quickly -- so quickly and frequently that it changes how all of us live our lives: drugs fail because diseases evolve; insects overcome the most powerful pesticides; HIV and tuberculosis develop resistance to the newest drugs in a few months. This is evolution with teeth. While the ecological scars of human technology have been well publicized, the broad evolutionary consequences of antibiotic and antiviral use, insecticide applications, and herbicide bioengineering are largely unexplored. Does the human impact on evolution falter at the borders of our own species? Or do we, in fact, generate our own evolutionary pressure? Enthusiastically written for a wide audience, The Evolution Explosion examines these practical and critical aspects of modern evolution with simplicity, force, and humor.
by Carl Zimmer, Stephen Jay Gould (Introduction), Richard HuttonCarl Zimmer, a well established science writer, presents a wonderful companion piece to the new PBS Evolution series by the same name. It presents a broad overview of evolution, and how it relates to other scientific fields like genetics, geology, and medicine. This is a beautifully done book with clear and accessible writing and illustrations throughout.
Dori Lecroy (Editor), Peter Moller (Editor)
Richard MorrisNearly all scientists agree: evolution did happen and natural selection was its driving force. An yet, a century and a half after Darwin, the theory of evolution is still being fought over with unparalleled ferocity.
In The Evolutionists, the highly praised author of more than a dozen books of popular science explores the fundamental questions about the evolutionary process that have provoked vehement disagreement among some of the world's most prominent scientists, including Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, John Maynard Smith, and Richard Dawkins.
For more information and an excerpt see whfreeman
Kauffman, Stuart A.Can life self-organize? Kauffman answers yes in his presentation of a non-Darwinian explanation for the origin of life and early molecular systems. An answer to "intelligent design theory"! "An integrative book that will become a landmark and a classic as we grope towards a more comprehensive and satisfying theory of evolution", according to Stephen Jay Gould.
Jones, Steve“Ghost” as in "ghost writer", that is. Jones, Professor of Genetics at University College London and acclaimed author of The Language of Genes, takes the ideas and concepts from Darwin´s Origin of Species and presents them in modern English prose, illustrating his points with modern examples drawn from today´s science. The London Sunday Telegraph describes Darwin’s Ghost as "a clever book about serious ideas that can be happily read on the beach." Published in Britain as Almost Like a Whale.
Futuyma, Douglas J.The most recent edition of Futuyma´s best-selling college-level textbook. An excellent, comprehensive reference for anyone wanting to know more about the science of evolution.
Dennett, DanielTufts University philosopher Dennett thoroughly describes evolutionary science, including its current controversies, and then goes on to spell out its implications for modern philosophy and modern life. Dennett argues that natural selection "is a universal solvent, capable of cutting right to the heart of everything in sight".
Eldredge, NilesFrom Niles Eldredge — renowned paleontologist, proponent of punctuated equilibrium, and Supporter of NCSE — comes Reinventing Darwin, which addresses "the great debate" between "ultra-Darwinians", such as John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins, and "naturalists", such as Steven Jay Gould, Steven Stanley, and Eldredge himself. Recommended to anyone interested in the theoretical underpinnings of evolutionary biology.
Zimmer, CarlDuring one important period of life´s history, vertebrate creatures left the water to colonize land, and later, some vertebrates readapted to that environment. Zimmer traces the discovery of both the transition to land of early tetrapods, and the later transition to water of the whales. If you are ever having an argument over "transitional fossils", this is the book you want to have!
Weiner, JonathanAn excellent, readable introduction to the principle of evolution by natural selection, demonstrated by the changes in beak size and biochemistry of Galapagos finches. From the publisher: "On a desert island in the heart of the Galápagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow; it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch." Praised by the Washington Post Book World for its "[e]vocative writing, exhaustive research, and Weiner's memorable portrait of the engaging Grants," The Beak of the Finch won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1995.
Monroe StrickbergerThis lavishly illustrated college-level textbook is excellent especially for teachers, or anyone who wants an understandable introduction to the wide variety of topics that make up evolution, from biochemical genetics to ecology.
Schopf, J. WilliamThis is a must for anyone who teaches evolution. Contains authoritative summaries of origin of life research, early life, the appearance of metazoa, and the subsequent evolution of plants, vertebrates, and humans. Eugenie Scott says, "I use this book to review the ´big ideas´ of the history of life."
Nesse, Randolph and George WilliamsNesse, a physician, and Williams, a leading evolutionary biologist, offer both medical researchers and general readers a wide-ranging survey of "Darwinian medicine." Suggesting evolutionary explanations for a wide range of phenomena including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, cancer, and mental disorders, they offer researchers guidance in developing and testing hypotheses. General readers can expect to gain an evolutionary understanding of their bodies’ functioning, and occasional misfunctioning." Enjoyable reading, praised by Edward O. Wilson for providing "not only means for the improvement of medicine but fundamental new insights into the human condition."
Eldredge, NilesNiles Eldredge, a curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, may be best known as the coauthor of the concept of "punctuated equilibria". Here Eldredge explores how the physical forces shaping our world relate to the process of biological evolution in the context of the history of ideas on evolution. Praised by Ian Tattersall for "weaving together an extraordinary diversity of information into a single coherent theory of the evolution of the biosphere" and as "smoothly flowing and highly readable". The humorous and thought-provoking opening pages are online at www.whfreeman.com
We also recommend these books:
G. Brent Dalrymple
From So Simple a Beginning: The Book of Evolution
One Long Argument : Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolution
Evolution! Facts and Fallacies