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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos 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. In this dramatic story of groundbreaking scientific research, Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself. The Beak of the Finch is an elegantly written and compelling masterpiece of theory and explication in the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould. With a new preface. From the Trade Paperback edition.
How much of our fate is decided before we are born? Which of our characteristics is inscribed in our DNA? Weiner brings us into Benzer's Fly Rooms at the California Institute of Technology, where Benzer, and his asssociates are in the process of finding answers, often astonishing ones, to these questions. Part biography, part thrilling scientific detective story, Time, Love, Memory forcefully demonstrates how Benzer's studies are changing our world view--and even our lives. Jonathan Weiner, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Beak of the Finch, brings his brilliant reporting skills to the story of Seymour Benzer, the Brooklyn-born maverick scientist whose study of genetics and experiments with fruit fly genes has helped revolutionize or knowledge of the connections between DNA and behavior both animal and human.
After his famous visit to the Galápagos Islands, Darwin speculated that "one might fancy that, from an original paucity of birds in this archipelago, one species had been taken and modified for different ends." This book is the classic account of how much we have since learned about the evolution of these remarkable birds. Based upon over a decade's research, Grant shows how interspecific competition and natural selection act strongly enough on contemporary populations to produce observable and measurable evolutionary change. In this new edition, Grant outlines new discoveries made in the thirteen years since the book's publication. Ecology and Evolution of Darwin's Finches is an extraordinary account of evolution in action. Originally published in 1999. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
Trace the evolutionary history of fourteen different species of finches on the Galapagos Islands that were studied by Charles Darwin.
Renowned evolutionary biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant have produced landmark studies of the Galápagos finches first made famous by Charles Darwin. In How and Why Species Multiply, they offered a complete evolutionary history of Darwin's finches since their origin almost three million years ago. Now, in their richly illustrated new book, 40 Years of Evolution, the authors turn their attention to events taking place on a contemporary scale. By continuously tracking finch populations over a period of four decades, they uncover the causes and consequences of significant events leading to evolutionary changes in species. The authors used a vast and unparalleled range of ecological, behavioral, and genetic data--including song recordings, DNA analyses, and feeding and breeding behavior--to measure changes in finch populations on the small island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos archipelago. They find that natural selection happens repeatedly, that finches hybridize and exchange genes rarely, and that they compete for scarce food in times of drought, with the remarkable result that the finch populations today differ significantly in average beak size and shape from those of forty years ago. The authors' most spectacular discovery is the initiation and establishment of a new lineage that now behaves as a new species, differing from others in size, song, and other characteristics. The authors emphasize the immeasurable value of continuous long-term studies of natural populations and of critical opportunities for detecting and understanding rare but significant events. By following the fates of finches for several generations, 40 Years of Evolution offers unparalleled insights into ecological and evolutionary changes in natural environments.
Two species come to mind when one thinks of the Galapagos Islands—the giant tortoises and Darwin’s fabled finches. While not as immediately captivating as the tortoises, these little brown songbirds and their beaks have become one of the most familiar and charismatic research systems in biology, providing generations of natural historians and scientists a lens through which to view the evolutionary process and its role in morphological differentiation. In Darwin’s Finches, Kathleen Donohue excerpts and collects the most illuminating and scientifically significant writings on the finches of the Galapagos to teach the fundamental principles of evolutionary theory and to provide a historical record of scientific debate. Beginning with fragments of Darwin’s Galapagos field notes and subsequent correspondence, and moving through the writings of such famed field biologists as David Lack and Peter and Rosemary Grant, the collection demonstrates how scientific processes have changed over time, how different branches of biology relate to one another, and how they all relate to evolution. As Donohue notes, practicing science today is like entering a conversation that has been in progress for a long, long time. Her book provides the history of that conversation and an invitation to join in. Students of both evolutionary biology and history of science will appreciate this compilation of historical and contemporary readings and will especially value Donohue’s enlightening commentary.
David Lack's classic work on the finches of the Galapagos Islands (Darwin's Finches) was first published in 1947; few books have had such a great impact on evolutionary biology, indeed it is still one of the most succinct and fascinating treatises ever written about the origin of new species. The 1947 version is reproduced with facsimile pages of the original text, tables and line illustrations. The major feature of this reprint is the additional material supplied by Dr Peter Boag and Dr Laurene Ratcliffe who have both completed studies on the Galapagos. The readership will comprise students of evolution and ecology and those interested in the history of evolutionary thought. Amateur ornithologists and tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands will find this account fascinating.

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