In this gustatory tour of human history, Allen suggests that the everyday activity of eating offers deep insights into our cultural and biological heritage. Beginning with the diets of our earliest ancestors, he explores eating’s role in our evolving brain before considering our contemporary dinner plates and the preoccupations of foodies.
The most prominent naturalist in Britain before Charles Darwin, Richard Owen made empirical discoveries and offered theoretical innovations that were crucial to the proof of evolution. Among his many lasting contributions to science was the first clear definition of the term homology—“the same organ in different animals under every variety of form and function.” He also graphically demonstrated that all vertebrate species were built on the same skeletal plan and devised the vertebrate archetype as a representation of the simplest common form of all vertebrates.
Just as Darwin’s ideas continue to propel the modern study of adaptation, so too will Owen’s contributions fuel the new interest in homology, organic form, and evolutionary developmental biology. His theory of the archetype and his views on species origins were first offered to the general public in On the Nature of Limbs, published in 1849. It reemerges here in a facsimile edition with introductory essays by prominent historians, philosophers, and practitioners from the modern evo-devo community.
On the Organic Law of Change
Alfred Russel Wallace Harvard University Press, 2013 Library of Congress QH375.W35 2013 | Dewey Decimal 508.598
Marking the centennial of Alfred Russel Wallace's death, James Costa presents an elegant edition of the "Species Notebook" of 1855-1859, which Wallace kept during his Malay Archipelago expedition. Presented in facsimile with text transcription and annotations, this never-before-published document provides a window into the travels, trials, and genius of the co-discoverer of natural selection.
In one section, headed "Note for Organic Law of Change"--a critique of geologist Charles Lyell's anti-evolutionary arguments--Wallace sketches a book he would never write, owing to the unexpected events of 1858. In that year he sent a manuscript announcing his discovery of natural selection to Charles Darwin. Lyell and the botanist Joseph Hooker proposed a joint reading at the Linnean Society of his scientific paper with Darwin's earlier private writings on the subject. Darwin would go on to publish On the Origin of Species in 1859, to much acclaim; pre-empted, Wallace's first book on evolution waited two decades, but by then he had abandoned his original concept. On the Organic Law of Change realizes in spirit Wallace's unfinished project, and asserts his stature as not only a founder of biogeography and the preeminent tropical biologist of his day but as Darwin's equal.
On the Origin of Phyla
James W. Valentine University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress QH367.5.V26 2004 | Dewey Decimal 591.38
Owing its inspiration and title to On the Origin of Species, James W. Valentine's ambitious book synthesizes and applies the vast treasury of theory and research collected in the century and a half since Darwin's time. By investigating the origins of life's diversity, Valentine unlocks the mystery of the origin of phyla.
One of the twentieth century's most distinguished paleobiologists, Valentine here integrates data from molecular genetics, evolutionary developmental biology, embryology, comparative morphology, and paleontology into an analysis of interest to scholars from any of these fields. He begins by examining the sorts of evidence that can be gleaned from fossils, molecules, and morphology, then reviews and compares the basic morphology and development of animal phyla, emphasizing the important design elements found in the bodyplans of both living and extinct phyla. Finally, Valentine undertakes the monumental task of developing models to explain the origin and early diversification of animal phyla, as well as their later evolutionary patterns.
Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla will take its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, affecting the work of paleontologists, morphologists, and developmental, molecular, and evolutionary biologists for decades to come.
"A magisterial compendium . . . . Valentine offers a judicious evaluation of an astonishing array of evidence."—Richard Fortey, New Scientist
"Truly a magnum opus, On the Origin of Phyla has already taken its place as one of the classic scientific texts of the twentieth century, affecting the work of paleontologists, morphologists, and developmental, molecular, and evolutionary biologists for decades to come."—Ethology, Ecology & Evolution
"Valentine is one of the Renaissance minds of our time. . . . Darwin wisely called his best-known work On the Origin of the Species; the origin of the phyla is an even stickier problem, and Valentine deserves credit for tackling it at such breadth . . . . A magnificient book."—Stefan Bengtson, Nature
Brian Boyd explains why we tell stories and how our minds are shaped to understand them. After considering art as adaptation, Boyd examines Homer's Odyssey and Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who! demonstrating how an evolutionary lens can offer new understanding and appreciation of specific works. Published for the bicentenary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, Boyd's study embraces a Darwinian view of human nature and art, and offers a credo for a new humanism.
An account of life's emergence from inanimate ordinary matter and the logic of its evolution over the last four billion years, emphasizing the essential contributions of infectious events to shape its course.
The Ontogeny of Information is a critical intervention into the ongoing and perpetually troubling nature-nurture debates surrounding human development. Originally published in 1985, this was a foundational text in what is now the substantial field of developmental systems theory. In this revised edition Susan Oyama argues compellingly that nature and nurture are not alternative influences on human development but, rather, developmental products and the developmental processes that produce them. Information, says Oyama, is thought to reside in molecules, cells, tissues, and the environment. When something wondrous occurs in the world, we tend to question whether the information guiding the transformation was pre-encoded in the organism or installed through experience or instruction. Oyama looks beyond this either-or question to focus on the history of such developments. She shows that what developmental “information” does depends on what is already in place and what alternatives are available. She terms this process “constructive interactionism,” whereby each combination of genes and environmental influences simultaneously interacts to produce a unique result. Ontogeny, then, is the result of dynamic and complex interactions in multileveled developmental systems. The Ontogeny of Information challenges specialists in the fields of developmental biology, philosophy of biology, psychology, and sociology, and even nonspecialists, to reexamine the existing nature-nurture dichotomy as it relates to the history and formation of organisms.
Nature is endlessly reinventing itself in a constant flux of movement and diversity. Yet the advancement of modern civilization has engendered extreme inequality, social division, and an imbalance between society and nature. Our technological proficiency has given our species the illusion of omnipotence; in our efforts to build robots more like us, we have not noticed how robotic we ourselves have become. To deal with this profound crisis, we must understand this problem at its roots. Could the origins of social domination and ecological exploitation be related? Is it possible for us to transform these dynamics and design society in a way that is cognizant of, and harmonious with, the Earth?
In this visionary book, David Dobereiner lucidly delves into the present urban and ecological impasse and examines the prospects for our future. Laced with insights into social and political ecology and written with a lifetime’s experience of innovating in ecological design, Organicity shows that there is still hope to build a more humane, egalitarian, and sustainable system, but it requires a fundamental shift in the way we do civilization. At the crossroads of creation and destruction, will evolution or entropy triumph?
Women and racial-ethnic minorities have had long histories of mobilizing for equality in U.S. society, but recent decades have witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the number and visibility of voluntary and activist organizations committed to challenging gender and racial-ethnic discrimination. What conditions have encouraged this growth? Going beyond more familiar accounts of social movement development, Debra Minkoff uses multivariate techniques to demonstrate that there is an ecology of organizational evolution that has shaped the formation and survival of national women's, African-American, Asian American, and Latino social and political organizations. Changes in the environment for action during the 1960s promoted the creation of a niche for women's and minority organizational activity, and this sector continued to expand even as the climate for social action became increasingly conservative during the 1970s and 1980s. Drawing on recent advances in both social movement and organizational theory and research, Minkoff offers an organizational analysis of the evolution of the women's and racial-ethnic social change sector since the mid-1950s. She provides an original synthesis of social movement and organizational theory, and unique analysis of the development of these women's and minority organizations from the civil rights era to the present.
In the grand sweep of evolution, the origin of radically new kinds of organisms in the fossil record is the result of a relatively simple process: natural selection marching through the ages. Or is it? Does Darwinian evolution acting over a sufficiently long period of time really offer a complete explanation, or are unusual genetic events and particular environmental and ecological circumstances also involved? With The Origin of Higher Taxa, Tom Kemp sifts through the layers of paleobiological, genetic, and ecological evidence on a quest to answer this essential, game-changing question of biology.
Looking beyond the microevolutionary force of Darwinian natural selection, Kemp enters the realm of macroevolution, or evolution above the species level. From the origin of mammals to the radiation of flowering plants, these large-scale patterns—such as the rise of novel organismal design, adaptive radiations, and lineage extinctions—encompass the most significant trends and transformations in evolution. As macroevolution cannot be studied by direct observation and experiment, scientists have to rely on the outcome of evolution as evidence for the processes at work, in the form of patterns of species appearances and extinctions in a spotty fossil record, and through the nature of species extant today. Marshalling a wealth of new fossil and molecular evidence and increasingly sophisticated techniques for their study, Kemp here offers a timely and original reinterpretation of how higher taxa such as arthropods, mollusks, mammals, birds, and whales evolved—a bold new take on the history of life.
What are the origins of human psychopathology? Is mental illness a relatively recent phenomenon, or has it been with us throughout evolution?
In Origins of Psychopathology, Horacio Fárega Jr. employs principles of evolutionary biology to better understand the significance of mental illness. He explores whether what psychiatry has categorized as mental disorders could have existed during earlier phases of human evolution. Fábrega approaches the prominent features of mental disorders as adaptive responses to the environment and life’s circumstances, which in turn can only be understood in the context of our evolutionary past. Taking his cue from theoretical issues raised by research into primate behavior and early hominid evolution, he poses the question: What, if any, aspects of mental illness are rooted in our evolution? Does mental illness occur in primates and other animals, and if so, what does this tell us about mental illness in human evolution? How has mental illness played an adaptive role? How has the development of language and higher cognitive functions affected characteristics of psychopathology? Fábrega synthesizes insights from both the clinical and the evolutionary points of view. This facet of psychopathology, which involves its origins and manifestations viewed across the expanse of human evolution, has, until now, been largely neglected in psychiatric education, theory, and practice.
Tracing the development of population genetics through the writings of such luminaries as Darwin, Galton, Pearson, Fisher, Haldane, and Wright, William B. Provine sheds light on this complex field as well as its bearing on other branches of biology.
With the establishment of U.S. Cyber Command, the cyber force is gaining visibility and authority, but challenges remain, particularly in the areas of acquisition and personnel recruitment and career progression. A review of commonalities, similarities, and differences between the still-nascent U.S. cyber force and early U.S. special operations forces, conducted in 2010, offers salient lessons for the future direction of U.S. cyber forces.
Despite the enormous amount of work that has attempted to combine historical and anthropological approaches in recent years, few books have outlined the underlying premises that make integration of the two fields difficult. In Out of Time, Nicholas Thomas argues that a "historical perspective" cannot simply be added to conventional anthropology, which systematically takes ethnography "out of time." Drawing examples from the Polynesian anthropological literature, he points to discredited social evolutionary ideas that have persisted even after apparently dramatic theoretical shifts and to the need to take seriously sources that anthropologists have previously dismissed.
When it was first published in 1989, Out of Time generated much-needed discussion on the appropriate models for historical anthropology. Thomas considered that both the historical structuralism of Marshall Sahlins and neo-Marxist regional systems theory had failed to transcend crucial limitations of conventional anthropology. Yet they provided elements of a more stimulating and critical perspective, which would also take account of contemporary political developments in the Pacific region.
For this second edition, Thomas has added an afterword that reflects on the book's initial reception and brings its critique up to date. He suggests a need to historicize the professionalization of anthropology as a discipline to understand shifts in practice and the need to acknowledge the historical specificity and limits of all forms of cultural knowledge, whether "Western" or indigenous.
Out of Time will be a useful text for graduate courses in anthropology, history, and cultural studies.
"This book displays rare integrity: Thomas' intellectual stance toward the theoretical approaches of others is fully consistent with his own discursive practices." --Contemporary Pacific
Nicholas Thomas is Senior Research Fellow, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University.
In the only book to date to explore the period between the 1859 publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species and the discovery in 1900 of Gregor Mendel’s experiments in genetics, John S. Haller, Jr., shows the relationship between scientific "conviction" and public policy. He focuses on the numerous liberally educated American scientists who were caught up in the triumph of evolutionary ideas and who sought to apply those ideas to comparative morality, health, and the physiognomy of nonwhite races.
During this period, the natural and social scientists of the day not only accepted without question the genetic and cultural superiority of the Caucasian; they also asserted that the Caucasian race held a monopoly on evolutionary progress, arguing that "inferior races" were no more than evolutionary survivors doomed by their genetic legacy to remain outcasts from evolution.
Hereditarians and evolutionists believed that "less fit" human races were perishing from the rigors of civilization’s struggle and competition. Indeed, racial inferiority lay at the very foundation of the evolutionary framework and, remaining there, rose to the pinnacle of "truth" with the myth of scientific certainty.