422 pages, 30 b/w illustrations
Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms is the newest collection of best-selling scientist Stephen Jay Gould's popular essays from Natural History magazine (the longest-running series of scientific essays in history). It is also the first of the final three such collections, since Dr. Gould has announced that Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms will end with the turn of the millennium.
In this collection, Gould consciously and unconventionally formulates a humanistic natural history, a consideration of how humans have learned to study and understand nature, rather than a history of nature itself. With his customary brilliance, Gould examines the puzzles and paradoxes great and small that build nature's and humanity's diversity and order. In affecting short biographies, he depicts how scholars grapple with problems of science and philosophy as he illuminates the interaction of the outer world with the unique human ability to struggle to understand the whys and wherefores of existence.
"No one has written of our illusions about progress in nature with more wit and learning than Stephen Jay Gould."
– Oliver Sacks
Pieces of Eight: Confession of a Humanistic Naturalist
I. ART AND SCIENCE
1. The Upwardly Mobile Fossils of Leonardo's Living Earth
2. The Great Western and the Fighting Temeraire
3. Seeing Eye to Eye, Through a Glass Clearly
II. BIOGRAPHIES IN EVOLUTION
4. The Clam Stripped Bare by Her Naturalits, Even
5. Darwin's American Soulmate: A Bird's-Eye View
6. A Seahorse for all Races
7. Mr Sophia's Pony
III. HUMAN PREHISTORY
8. Up Against a Wall
9. A Lesson from the Old Masters
10. Our Unusual Unity
IV. OF HISTORY AND TOLERATION
11. A Cerion for Christopher
12.The Dodo in the Caucus Race
13. The Diet of Worms and the Defenestration of Prague
V. EVOLUTIONARY FACTS AND THEORIES
14. Non-Overlapping Magisteria
15. Boyle's Law and Darwin's Details
16. The Tallest Tale
17. Brotherhood by Inversion (or, As the Worm Turns)
VI. DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS OF COMMON TRUTHS
18. War of the Worldviews
19. Triumph of the Root-Heads
20. Can We Truly Know Sloth and Rapacity?
21. Reversing Established Orders
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Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.