By: Tijs Goldschmidt and Sherry Marx-MacDonald
274 pages, B/w photos, illus
Dazzling in their variety, shapes, and colours, the cichlids of Lake Victoria, like the finches of the Galapagos and Hawaii's Honeycreepers, have been geographically isolated long enough to undergo unusually broad speciations, forming a species flock that are among the most spectacular in the world. The process of speciation was still underway until recently, when the introduction of the large predatory Nile perch so disrupted the Lake's intricate ecosystem that the glorious spectrum of cichlids have almost vanished. Darwinian Dreamponds tells the evolutionary story of the extraordinary `furu' and the battlefield leading to extinction, and the travails of one man as he endeavours to unlock the evolutionary and ecological secrets of the lake.
The biological story itself is fascinating, and Mr. Goldschmidt tells it well. But the genius of his book lies in the way he has combined the science with travel writing. He interleaves the two in a highly readable way, so that his Tanzanian experiences lighten the science... the book should give universal pleasure. --Mark Ridley, The New York Times Book Review
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