By: H Cronin
504 pages, B/w photos, figs, 2 tabs
The theory of natural selection is one of the foremost achievements of science, yet until recently two major issues remained unresolved. How can natural selection favour those, like the ant, that renounce tooth and claw in favour of the public spirited ways of the commune? How can the theory explain the peacock's tail, a flamboyant burden to its bearer: surely selection would act against ornamentation with no obvious value? The author blends history, science and philosophy into a scholarly and entertaining account.
'Part detective story and part philosophical enquiry, The Ant and the Peacock offers a paradox in every paragraph.' J. G. Ballard, Weekend Telegraph 'Nobody with an interest in how the human mind has come to work the way it does can fail to be gripped by it.' The Economist 'In her racy and provocative way, Dr Cronin tells a story that sums up the essence of neo-Darwinism ... Part detective story and part philosophical enquiry, The Ant and the Peacock offers a paradox in every paragraph ...' Weekend Telegraph 'The finest study of the evolution of Darwinian thought that we have to date ... Cronin's special understanding of the sexual force in evolution's drive adds a most important dynamic to this work.' The New England Review of Books
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