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Evolution is a challenging subject to teach. It is a central concept in biology, so the topical coverage of an introduction to evolution is potentially very broad in scope. Evolution is sometimes perceived as controversial, when in fact the scientific basis for evolution is strongly established. Finally, many perceive evolution as primarily historical in perspective. This new textbook by Stearns and Hoekstra addresses these challenges quite nicely.
It provides a readable account of selected topics, in both contemporary evolutionary ecology as well as a broad overview of long-term evolutionary history. The authors deliberately limited themselves to current issues rather than trying to produce a complete catalogue of evolutionary biology, and the result is a book that provides reasonable coverage but that is still sufficiently limited in scope for a semester-long course on evolution.
The book starts out with several chapters addressing various aspects of microevolution. The chapters that address evolutionary ecology, such as expression of variation, evolution of sex, evolution of life histories and sex ratios, and sexual selection, make effective use of selected contemporary biological examples to illustrate the concepts being presented.
The succeeding chapters on systematics and historical processes in evolution are very clear and build nicely on concepts presented earlier. The discussion of long-term evolution concludes with discussion of aspects of evolutionary biology that are currently advancing at a rapid pace, such as the evolution of development across all organisms and the understanding of human diversity.
The book does not provide as much of an overview of classical examples as some of the other evolution textbooks currently available, and there is no presentation of the historical development of evolutionary biology as a scientific field. This was apparently done deliberately to convey evolution as a contemporary and dynamic field. Thus, it is what the title claims — an introduction to evolution that complements existing textbooks more suitable for an advanced level.
The tone of the book is conversational and accessible. Concepts that could get bogged down in theory are explained on a level that could be grasped by students with diverse backgrounds. The book draws primarily on examples from recent research publications, lending a sense of contemporary momentum to its presentation of evolutionary biology. Overall, this book represents a reasonable alternative to other textbooks presently available, particularly at the introductory undergraduate level.
Reprints and Permissions. Meagher, T. Evolution — An Introduction. Heredity 85, — Download citation. Published : 01 November Issue Date : 01 November Advanced search. Skip to main content. Register your interest. Download PDF.
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Evolution, an introduction. 2nd Edition
Evolution, an introduction. N2 - This book introduces what is essential and exciting in evolutionary biology. It covers the whole field and emphasises the important concepts for the student. Care has been taken to express complex and stimulating ideas in simple language, while the frequent examples and running summaries attempt to make reading fun. Its logical structure means that it can be read straight through, one chapter per sitting, and each chapter's links to its neighbours are clearly explained. AB - This book introduces what is essential and exciting in evolutionary biology. Stearns, R.
Evolution — An Introduction
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