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Darwin's Walk and The Last Wave: Disappearing Landscapes, Declini...
by Richard Krooth

Language

English

Pages

392

Publication Date

August 16, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<span><span>This book describes the reasons humankind may be facing its last moments on Planet Earth. Darwin marked the path of species evolution, modification, and extinction. Following Darwin’s trajectory of evolution, the author reveals how human-made technologies have had a devastating impact on Earth’s biosphere, signaling the continuing disappearance of landscapes and the decline of species life.</span></span>
Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States
by James C. Scott

Language

English

Pages

335

Publication Date

August 22, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<DIV><B>An account of all the new and surprising evidence now available for the beginnings of the earliest civilizations that contradict the standard narrative</B><BR /><BR /> Why did humans abandon hunting and gathering for sedentary communities dependent on livestock and cereal grains, and governed by precursors of today’s states? Most people believe that plant and animal domestication allowed humans, finally, to settle down and form agricultural villages, towns, and states, which made possible civilization, law, public order, and a presumably secure way of living. But archaeological and historical evidence challenges this narrative. The first agrarian states, says James C. Scott, were born of accumulations of domestications: first fire, then plants, livestock, subjects of the state, captives, and finally women in the patriarchal family—all of which can be viewed as a way of gaining control over reproduction.<BR /><BR /> Scott explores why we avoided sedentism and plow agriculture, the advantages of mobile subsistence, the unforeseeable disease epidemics arising from crowding plants, animals, and grain, and why all early states are based on millets and cereal grains and unfree labor. He also discusses the “barbarians” who long evaded state control, as a way of understanding continuing tension between states and nonsubject peoples.</DIV>
The Art of Making Children: The New World of Assisted Reproductiv...
by Francois Ansermet

Language

English

Pages

216

Publication Date

September 30, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
Advances in assisted reproductive technology are producing a new world whose boundaries and implications have yet to be fully explored and understood. New advances are announced and hit the headlines with dizzying regularity, triggering the hopes and aspirations of some, and the fears of others. What is possible? What are the implications? What should be permissible? Who should decide?Medically assisted reproductive techniques were developed to treat sterility and infertility. However, in parallel this has created a demand for applications outside the fields for which these technologies were originally intended. This book explores the issues that surround medically assisted reproduction by addressing them from the perspective of four key areas: the mystery of procreation and the enigma of origin and where we come from; the question of difference and alterity in procreation (be it the breaking down of the notion that one comes from two in heterologous procreation to the aspirations for same-sex procreation, or the blurring of chronology and generations through cryoconservation); the place of destiny, including how to think about individual destinies in an age of increasingly accessible gene sequencing paired with a growing link between procreation and prediction; and an exploration of how clinicians and professionals can respond to the subjective experiences of those who resort to medically assisted reproduction, and the singularity of each person's response to the difficult and complex questions it raises.
A Taste for the Beautiful: The Evolution of Attraction
by Michael J. Ryan

Language

English

Pages

208

Publication Date

February 13, 2018

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Customer Reviews
<p><b>From one of the world's leading authorities on animal behavior, the astonishing story of how the female brain drives the evolution of beauty in animals and humans</b></p><p>Darwin developed the theory of sexual selection to explain why the animal world abounds in stunning beauty, from the brilliant colors of butterflies and fishes to the songs of birds and frogs. He argued that animals have “a taste for the beautiful” that drives their potential mates to evolve features that make them more sexually attractive and reproductively successful. But if Darwin explained <i>why</i> sexual beauty evolved in animals, he struggled to understand <i>how</i>. In <i>A Taste for the Beautiful</i>, Michael Ryan, one of the world’s leading authorities on animal behavior, tells the remarkable story of how he and other scientists have taken up where Darwin left off and transformed our understanding of sexual selection, shedding new light on human behavior in the process.</p><p>Drawing on cutting-edge work in neuroscience and evolutionary biology, as well as his own important studies of the tiny Túngara frog deep in the jungles of Panama, Ryan explores the key questions: Why do animals perceive certain traits as beautiful and others not? Do animals have an inherent sexual aesthetic and, if so, where is it rooted? Ryan argues that the answers to these questions lie in the brain—particularly of females, who act as biological puppeteers, spurring the development of beautiful traits in males. This theory of how sexual beauty evolves explains its astonishing diversity and provides new insights about the degree to which our own perception of beauty resembles that of other animals.</p><p>Vividly written and filled with fascinating stories, <i>A Taste for the Beautiful</i> will change how you think about beauty and attraction.</p>
Evolution: The Human Odyssey
by Scientific American Edito...

Language

English

Pages

200

Publication Date

August 21, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
The complex story of human evolution is a tale seven million years in the making. Each new discovery adds to or revises our story and our understanding of how we came to be the way we are. In this eBook, The Human Odyssey, we explore the evolution of those characteristics that make us human. The first section, “Where We Came From,” looks at our family tree and why some branches survived and not others. Swings in climate are emerging as a factor in what traits succeeded and failed, as we see in “Climate Shocks;” meanwhile in “Human Hybrids,” DNA analyses show that Homo sapiens interbred with other human species, which played a key role in our survival. Section Two, “What Makes Us Special,” examines those traits that separate us from other primates. Recent data indicate that our hairless skin was important to the rise of other human features, and other research is getting closer to illuminating how humans became monogamous, as shown in “The Naked Truth” and “Powers of Two,” respectively. In the final section, “Where We Are Going,” we speculate on the future of human evolution in a world where advances in technology, medicine and other areas protect us from harmful factors like disease, causing some scientists to claim that humans are no longer subject to natural selection and our evolution has ceased. Far from that, in “Still Evolving,” author John Hawks discusses how humans have evolved rapidly over the past 30,000 years, as seen in relatively recent traits like blue eyes or lactose tolerance, why such rapid evolution has been possible and what future generations might look like. Like us, our story will continue to evolve.
Nature's Machines: An Introduction to Organismal Biomechanics
by David E. Alexander

Language

English

Pages

193

Publication Date

August 15, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<p><i>Nature’s Machines: An Introduction to Organismal Biomechanics</i> presents the fundamental principles of biomechanics in a concise, accessible way while maintaining necessary rigor. It covers the central principles of whole-organism biomechanics as they apply across the animal and plant kingdoms, featuring brief, tightly-focused coverage that does for biologists what H. M. Frost’s 1967 <i>Introduction to Biomechanics</i> did for physicians. Frequently encountered, basic concepts such as stress and strain, Young’s modulus, force coefficients, viscosity, and Reynolds number are introduced in early chapters in a self-contained format, making them quickly available for learning and as a refresher. </p> <p>More sophisticated, integrative concepts such as viscoelasticity or properties of hydrostats are covered in the later chapters, where they draw on information from multiple earlier sections of the book. Animal and plant biomechanics is now a common research area widely acknowledged by organismal biologists to have broad relevance. Most of the day-to-day activities of an animal involve mechanical processes, and to the extent that organisms are shaped by adaptive evolution, many of those adaptations are constrained and channelized by mechanical properties. The similarity in body shape of a porpoise and a tuna is no coincidence. </p> <p>Many may feel that they have an intuitive understanding of many of the mechanical processes that affect animals and plants, but careful biomechanical analyses often yield counterintuitive results: soft, squishy kelp may be better at withstanding pounding waves during storms than hard-shelled mollusks; really small swimmers might benefit from being spherical rather than streamlined; our bones can operate without breaking for decades, whereas steel surgical implants exhibit fatigue failures in a few months if not fully supported by bone.</p><ul><li>Offers organismal biologists and biologists in other areas a background in biomechanics to better understand the research literature and to explore the possibility of using biomechanics approaches in their own work</li><li>Provides an introductory presentation of the everyday mechanical challenges faced by animals and plants</li><li>Functions as recommended or required reading for advanced undergraduate biology majors taking courses in biomechanics, supplemental reading in a general organismal biology course, or background reading for a biomechanics seminar course</li></ul>
Hereditary Blindness and Deafness: The Race for Sight and Sound
by Todd T. Eckdahl

Language

English

Pages

100

Publication Date

August 16, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
This book presents examples of hereditary blindness and deafness that illustrate the large variety of genetic diseases that affect vision and hearing. It describes seven hereditary eye diseases, three genetic syndromes that cause deafness, and four types of nonsyndromic deafness. The author explains the diagnosis of hereditary blindness and deafness in children and adults and describes the patterns of inheritance of blindness and deafness, illustrating each with family scenarios. The practice of genetic testing is described, which can provide information that prospective parents can use to make reproductive decisions. The text also presents treatments and therapies for hereditary blindness and deafness such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and corneal implants. It describes future prospects for diagnosing, treating, and curing hereditary blindness and deafness, including experimental drugs, stem cell therapy, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, and gene therapy.
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalis...
by Richard Dawkins

Language

English

Pages

448

Publication Date

August 08, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
<b>The legendary biologist and bestselling author mounts a timely and passionate defense of science and clear thinking with this career-spanning collection of essays, including twenty pieces published in the United States for the first time.</b><br /><br /> For decades, Richard Dawkins has been a brilliant scientific communicator, consistently illuminating the wonders of nature and attacking faulty logic. <i>Science in the Soul</i> brings together forty-two essays, polemics, and paeans—all written with Dawkins’s characteristic erudition, remorseless wit, and unjaded awe of the natural world.<br /><br /> Though it spans three decades, this book couldn’t be more timely or more urgent. Elected officials have opened the floodgates to prejudices that have for half a century been unacceptable or at least undercover. In a passionate introduction, Dawkins calls on us to insist that reason take center stage and that gut feelings, even when they <i>don’t</i> represent the stirred dark waters of xenophobia, misogyny, or other blind prejudice, should stay out of the voting booth. And in the essays themselves, newly annotated by the author, he investigates a number of issues, including the importance of empirical evidence, and decries bad science, religion in the schools, and climate-change deniers.<br /><br /> Dawkins has equal ardor for “the sacred truth of nature” and renders here with typical virtuosity the glories and complexities of the natural world. Woven into an exploration of the vastness of geological time, for instance, is the peculiar history of the giant tortoises and the sea turtles—whose journeys between water and land tell us a deeper story about evolution. At this moment, when so many highly placed people still question the fact of evolution, Dawkins asks what Darwin would make of his own legacy—“a mixture of exhilaration and exasperation”—and celebrates science as possessing many of religion’s virtues—“explanation, consolation, and uplift”—without its detriments of superstition and prejudice.<br /><br /> In a world grown irrational and hostile to facts, <i>Science in the Soul</i> is an essential collection by an indispensable author.<br /><br /><b>Advance praise for <i>Science in the Soul</i></b><br /><br /> “The illumination of Richard Dawkins’s incisive thinking on the intellectual world extends far beyond biology. What a treat to see so clearly how matter and meaning fit together, from fiction to philosophy to molecular biology, in one unified vision!”<b>—Daniel C. Dennett, author of <i>From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds</i></b><br /><br /> “I thank Thor and Zeus that in their infinite wisdom they chose to make the great wordsmith of our age a great rationalist, and vice versa.”<b>—Matt Ridley, author of <i>The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge</i></b><br /><br /> “In this golden age of enlightened science writing, it is stunning that no scientist has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It is time literature’s highest award be granted to a scientist whose writings have changed not just science but society. No living scientist is more deserving of such recognition than Richard Dawkins. . . . <i>Science in the Soul</i> is the perfect embodiment of Nobel–quality literature.”<b>—Michael Shermer, publisher of <i>Skeptic</i> magazine, columnist for <i>Scientific American, </i>and<i> </i>author of <i>The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People</i></b><br /><br /> “<i>Science in the Soul</i> is packed with Dr. Dawkins’s philosophy, humor, anger, and quiet wisdom, leading the reader gently but firmly to inevitable conclusions that edify and educate.”<b>—James Randi, author of <i>The Faith Healers</i></b>
Evolutionary Perspectives on Environmental Problems
by Routledge

Language

English

Pages

364

Publication Date

July 05, 2017

Product Description
Customer Reviews
The twenty-first century presents an increasing number of environmental problems, including toxic pollution, global warming, destruction of tropical forests, extinction of biological diversity, and depletion of natural resources. These environmental problems are generally due to human behavior, namely over-consumption of resources and overpopulation. Designing effective policies to address these problems requires a deep understanding of human behavior as well as ecology. This in turn requires considerations of human nature, and the evolutionary "design" of the human mind.Evolutionary research on human behavior has profound implications for the environmental sciences. The aim of this collection is to bring together a variety of chapters that show how and why. Part 1, "Human Nature and Resource Conservation," addresses environmental problems from different evolutionary perspectives. Part 2, "The Ecological Noble Savage Hypothesis," examines the notion that our environmental problems are due to Western culture, and that our ancestors and people in indigenous societies lived in harmony with nature until the corrupting influences of Western culture. Part 3, "The Tragedy of the Commons," explores the conservation of common-pool or open-access natural resources, such as fisheries, forests, grazing lands, freshwater, and clean air. Part 4, "The Evolution of Discounting and Conspicuous Consumption," looks at the problem of explaining why people are so ecologically short-sighted and why people in developed countries consume so many resources. Part 5, "Overpopulation and Fertility Declines," addresses the evolution of human reproductive decisions. Part 6, "Biophilia," aims to explain why people cherish nature as well as destroy it.The goal of this volume is to introduce environmental thinkers to evolutionary perspectives on human behavior, and the new interdisciplinary sciences of evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology. This reader aims to help bridge
The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey
by Spencer Wells

Language

English

Pages

230

Publication Date

October 31, 2012

Product Description
Customer Reviews
Around 60,000 years ago, a man—genetically identical to us—lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and races?<br /><br />Examining the hidden secrets of human evolution in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the revolutionary science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. Replete with marvelous anecdotes and remarkable information, from the truth about the real Adam and Eve to the way differing racial types emerged, <b>The Journey of Man</b> is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind.

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