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99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Up Paperback – April 15, 2009

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Silvertown, an evolutionary biologist at Britain's Open University, and six colleagues have produced an attractive, easy-to-navigate book that explains the data supporting evolutionary theory. You don't need any background in science to enjoy this book, note the authors, and this is both its greatest strength and weakness. The discussion is easy to grasp, but also somewhat superficial. The 19 brief chapters are arranged in four sections: Origins, on the genetic relatedness of all living things; Body Building, on the process of developmental change and the evidence for it in the fossil record; Diversity, on the importance of sex in creating diversity and speciation; and Here and Now, on evolution's significance today. Readers will learn about the myriad interactions among genes and how easy these interactions make it for new evolutionary patterns and processes to develop. And readers will learn that evidence from a wide variety of fields, from geology to molecular genetics, physiology and evolutionary psychology, consistently support one another, demonstrating the power of evolutionary theory. The abundant and very attractive color pictures help illustrate the underlying science and are a pleasure to look at in their own right. (Apr. 15)
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Review

“[An] attractive, easy-to-navigate book that explains the data supporting evolutionary theory. . . . Readers will learn about the myriad interactions among genes and how easy these interactions make it for new evolutionary patterns and processes to develop. And readers will learn that evidence from a wide variety of fields, from geology to molecular genetics, physiology and evolutionary psychology, consistently support one another, demonstrating the power of evolutionary theory. The abundant and very attractive color pictures help illustrate the underlying science and are a pleasure to look at in their own right.”

(Publishers Weekly)

"This readable book provieds an evidence-based defense of the concept of biological evolution. . . . The book is filled with excellent examples of evolutionary studies. The lavish illustrations are clear and used well, the design is stunning, and the book is reasonably priced."
(Choice)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226757781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226757780
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,615,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Saganite VINE VOICE on April 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
2009 is Charles Darwin's 200th birthday, and science-lovers are getting all kinds of presents because of it, including this stunningly well-written and illustrated book.

I first ran into the book's editor, Jonathan Silvertown, reading "Demons in Eden," a wonderful book on plant evolution and ecology. Among the crop of new science popularizer superstars, his style ranks near the top, alongside Neil Shubin, Carl Zimmer, and Sean Carroll.

Silvertown's talent for lucid prose and well-chosen examples serves "Ape" very well. Any interested layperson can follow the text, and the lavish illustrations (including astonishing photographs, useful diagrams and charts, and historical graphics such as the one included on the book's cover) make the experience rich and riveting. Jargon is avoided, and when necessitated, explained clearly and by way of an easier-to-grasp example (comparing a genome to a book, say).

As terrific as this book is, it probably occupies third place on my evolutionary biology recommendation list, after Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" and Neil Shubin's "Your Inner Fish." But as a supplement to those books, or as a gift to a young person with a highly visual learning style, I would recommend "Ape" very highly. Also, I've read several great books on evolution within the past few years, but I can't imagine that I'll return to any of the others as often as I will to this one, due to its breadth and use of striking images to communicate.

If I have a quibble, it's with the title.
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Format: Paperback
A clean, concise, easy to read analysis. Makes a powerful closing statement. Useful for general audiences to understand and appreciate our natural connections
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
99% Ape: How Evolution Adds Up by Jonathan Silvertown

"99% Ape" is the beautifully illustrated book about the grand theory of evolution. Evolutionary biologist Jonathan Silvertown takes us on a visual journey of knowledge by presenting the latest evidence in support of evolution. This 224-page book is composed of the following nineteen chapters: 1. 99% Ape, 2. Darwin's brilliant idea, 3. The tree of life, 4. First life, 5. African genesis, 6. An eye for Darwin, 7. A fish out of water, 8. A whale of a problem, 9. Feathered fossils, 10. In the genes, 11. New species from old, 12. Darwin's finches, 13. The flowers of evolution, 14. The race from Africa, 15. Catch me if you can, 16. Darwin in mind, 17. Why be good?, 18. The science of evolution, and 19. What next?

Positives:
1. One of the most beautifully illustrated books you will find. Full of eye-grabbing photos, illustrations and comprehensive charts. High production value.
2. Well written and accessible for the masses. A perfect book to provide as a gift to anyone who wants to learn the basics of evolution and then some.
3. Great format. The book is broken out in four major parts: Origins, Body Building, Diversity and Here and now. Each part contains 4 to 5 chapters. Each chapter captures interesting topics concerning that part or aspect of evolution.
4. There are many great ways to learn about evolution. The author's approach is to use beautiful illustrations in conjunction with brief yet comprehensive narratives. It really works well and the visual-minded will certainly appreciate it.
5. It never ceases to amaze me how much I learn from every book about evolution. There are interesting and fascinating tidbits spruced throughout this book.
6.
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