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Evolution and the Diversity of Life: Selected Essays

By: Ernst Mayr

721 pages, Figs, tabs

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Mar 1997 | #65498 | ISBN: 067427105X
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £35.95 $46 / €41 approx
Hardback | Dec 1976 | #3714 | ISBN: 0674271041
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About this book

Selected papers on the diversity of living forms and the unity of evolutionary processes, from the pen of one of the masters of evolutionary biology, and a leading exponent of Darwinism. The topics covered? Evolution; speciation; history of biology; philosophy of biology; theory of systematics; species; man; biogeography; and behaviour.
`The range of topics covered in these essays is awesome when one realizes that they are the product of a single mind', Francisco J. Ayala, Sciences.

Mayr has shown himself to be a true follower of Darwin, Wallace, and Huxley. His writings are lively and critical, and they provide remarkable insight into the development of the field. -- Peter H. Raven Science The range of topics covered in these essays is awesome when one realizes that they are the product of a single mind. -- Francisco J. Ayala Sciences


Part 1 Evolution: introduction - Darwin vindicated; basic concepts of evolutionary biology; the evolution of living systems; typological versus population thinking; accident or design - the paradox of evolution; selection and directional evolution; population size and evolutionary parameters; from molecules to organic diversity; sexual selection and natural selection; the emergence of evolutionary novelties. Part 2 Speciation: introduction; Darwin and isolation; darwin, Wallace, and the origin of isolation mechanisms; Karl Jordan on specification; sympatric speciation; bird speciation in the tropics; change of environment and speciation; geographical character gradients and climatic adaptation. Part 3 History of biology: introduction; Lamarck revisited; Agassiz, Darwin, and evolution; the nature of the Darwinian revolution; Karl Jordan on the theory of systematics and evolution; where are we? the recent historiography of genetics. Part 4 Philosophy of biology: introduction; cause and effect in biology; explanatory models in biology; theory formation in developmental biology; teleological and teleonomic - a new analysis. Part 5 Theory of systematics: introduction; the challenge of diversity; the role of systematics in biology; theory of biological classification; cladistic analysis and cladistic classification. Part 6 The species: introduction; toward a modern species definition; Karl Jordan and the biological species concept; species concepts and definitions; sibling or cryptic species among animals; the biological meaning of species. Part 7 Man: introduction; taxonomic categories in fossil hominids. Part 8 Biogeography: introduction; what is a fauna? history of the North American bird fauna; inferences concerning the tertiary North American bird faunas; the origin and history of the Polynesian bird fauna; land bridges and dispersal facilities; Wallace's line in the light of recent zoogeographic studies; fragments of a Papuan ornithogeopgraphy; the ornithogeography of the Hawaiian Islands; the nature of colonization of birds. Part 9 Behaviour: introduction; behaviour and systematics; behaviour programs and evolutionary strategies.

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Ernst Mayr is Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology, Emeritus, at Harvard University. He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the Crafoord Prize for Biology, the National Medal of Science, the Balzan Prize, and the Japan Prize.

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