Books  General Natural History  Biography, Exploration & Travel 

The Life of David Lack: Father of Evolutionary Ecology

Biography / Memoir
  • Based on personal interviews not available elsewhere, which were used to piece together Lack's life story

By: Ted R Anderson(Author)

246 pages, 19 b/w photos and illustrations

Oxford University Press USA

Hardback | Jul 2013 | #204289 | ISBN-13: 9780199922642
Availability: Usually dispatched within 2-3 weeks Details
NHBS Price: £42.99 $56/€48 approx

About this book

Most people who have taken a biology course in the past 50 years are familiar with the work of David Lack, but few remember his name. Almost all general biology texts produced during that period have a figure showing the beak size differences among the finches of the Galapagos Islands from Lack's 1947 classic, Darwin's Finches. Lack's pioneering conclusions in Darwin's Finches mark the beginning of a new scientific discipline, evolutionary ecology. Tim Birkhead, in his acclaimed book, The Wisdom of Birds, calls Lack the 'hero of modern ornithology.' Who was this influential, yet relatively unknown man? The Life of David Lack: Father of Evolutionary Ecology, provides an answer to that question based on Ted Anderson's personal interviews with colleagues, family members and former students as well as material in the extensive Lack Archive at Oxford University.

"Ted Anderson, author of Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow: From Genes to Populations (reviewed in Ibis 149: 633) never met David Lack. This has not turned out to be the ‘significant handicap’ he feared, however, and we are taken skilfully through David Lack’s life by meticulous research of his diaries, correspondence, many publications and a large number of interviews with former colleagues, students, and, most of all, by conversations with his family. This is not a hagiography, but a sensitive and very readable appreciation of a great scientist."
- G. R. (Dick) Potts, Ibis, August 2014

"[...] Anderson has succeeded in sympathetically revealing the personality and intellectual development of this exceptionally gifted yet modest scientist, whose original ideas and work have inspired all those who have followed in his footsteps. He has also painted a word picture of a devoted and cultivated family man who, having thought deeply about the conflicts between religious beliefs and evolution and published an outstanding and thought-provoking book on the subject, converted from agnosticism to Christianity at the age of 38."
- John F Burton, BTO book reviews

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Ted R. Anderson is Emeritus Profess or Biology at McKendree University. Professor Anderson is the author of Biology of the Ubiquitous House Sparrow: From Genes to Populations (OUP 2006). He is retired and lives with his wife, Carol, in Kingston, Washington.

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