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Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology

, 576 pages

9 halftones, 99 line drawings

February 2014



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Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary biology is one of the most fascinating and controversial fields of science, and its principles are fundamental to science as a whole. Presented here are 48 classic papers, selected and introduced by two of the world’s most distinguished evolutionary biologists, Francisco J. Ayala and John C. Avise. The volume reveals, in chronological order, 150 years of evolutionary biology, from the field’s origins to recent discoveries and reinterpretations based on new theory and evidence.

A perfect book for seminar courses in biology, zoology, botany, ecology or evolution, this comprehensive tour of landmark publications traces scholarly thought from the foggy nineteenth-century birth of evolutionary biology to the mapping of the human genome. Each selection is preceded by a short essay that explains its significance.

The papers represent hallmark publications by seminal thinkers in the field such as Charlesworth, Dobzhansky, Ehrlich and Raven, Gould and Lewontin, Hamilton, Hardy, Hillis, Margulis, Maynard Smith, Mayr, MacArthur and Wilson, McClintock, Simpson, Trivers, Watson and Crick, West-Eberhard, and Wright. Subjects include natural selection, adaptation, and complex design, as well as mutation, chromosome speciation, and pseudogenes.

In short, Essential Readings in Evolutionary Biology provides a captivating history of the foundation and growth of biology’s central discipline.

Francisco J. Ayala is Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology; professor of philosophy; and professor of logic and the philosophy of science at the University of California, Irvine. He is author of Am I A Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution, also published by Johns Hopkins. John C. Avise is Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine, and author of On Evolution, also published by Johns Hopkins.

"This book is an excellent collection of classic papers that does a great job of tracing the history of evolutionary biology through the presentation of seminal works from their original sources... providing a collection of essential readings in evolutionary biology to academia and the reading public."

"This is a unique book from which you can learn about evolution from the best of the best in this field."

"Wide-ranging and valuable to both students and general readers as a guide to the historical growth of the field."

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