The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything by Geerat J. Vermeij

By Geerat J. Vermeij

“One of the grasp naturalists of our time” (American Scientist) reveals how evolutionary thought explains and impacts not only the wildlife but our society---and its future.Evolution has outgrown its unique domestic in biology and geology. The Evolutionary global shows how evolution---descent with modification---is an idea that organizes, explains, and predicts a mess of unconnected proof and phenomena. variation performs a task not just within the improvement of recent species however the improvement of human civilization. by means of figuring out how evolutionary concept has performed out in areas resembling our financial system, our instruction for catastrophes, or even the improvement of groups, we will be able to study not only how those platforms paintings but in addition what challenges lie ahead.Blind because the age of 3, Dr. Geerat J. Vermeij has turn into well known for his targeted talents to acknowledge info within the wildlife that different scientists may by no means have noticed. In this booklet, he provides a brand new argument for evolution's broader importance. He explores similarities among genomes and languages, the contrasting common economies of islands and continents, the emergence and value of human values, the long-range effects of worldwide warming, and the perils of monopoly. He additionally indicates that the classes of evolution have implications for schooling, our method of legislation, and fiscal growth. The Evolutionary World makes a desirable argument in regards to the broad-reaching influence and significance of evolution. It deals a manner for us to appreciate and paintings with evolution's rules in order that we will be able to devise larger strategies for our personal lives, society, and the surroundings round us.

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Additional info for The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization

Sample text

And so began a research project that has engaged me off and on for more than twenty years. One obvious source of evidence, especially to a paleontologist like me, is the fossil record. Happily for me, seashells are abundant as fossils, and most species of living clams and snails have a fossil record that can be traced back for millions of years. If the lineage leading up to a living species extends further back in time in the Pacific than in the Arctic or Atlantic Oceans, it likely originated in the Pacific.

Geological evidence can help to specify when the Bering Strait was open, and when the Arctic Ocean was warm or when it was covered by sea ice. Some of the evidence was already available through the work of other scientists. On my regular visits to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, I combed through the literature on the living and fossil life of the northern oceans. There were hundreds of papers and monographs on which I took extensive notes. I could easily cope with the English, French, and German publications, but it wasn't until Janice Cooper came to work with me in Davis in 1989 that I came to appreciate the richness of the extensive Russian work, much of which Janice was able to translate into English.

Their fates and ours hinged on how well the bodies of competing individuals worked. This idea is most obvious when applied to individual organisms, but it applies also to cells within the living body. In the nervous system, for example, axons—long extensions of nerve cells—grow more or less at random, but they persist only when they reach their target as indicated by an electrical signal, that is, when a connection is established. Other axons wither away, leaving an orderly, flexible, and well-functioning network of nerve connections that allows an animal to sense and respond to its environment.

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