J. David Archibald is one of the leading paleomammalogists in the world, and one of the foremost experts on the biotic changes across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. In this book, he shows a deep understanding of the chronology and iconography of the 'tree' as both an iconic metaphor and a conceptual device in the history of biology.
(Kevin Padian, University of California, Berkeley)
This book presents a fascinating trip through the history of imagery and conceptual frameworks used to understand the diversity and evolution of life. J. David Archibald has produced an authoritative and delightful text that will be relished by anyone interested in evolution, biodiversity, the history and philosophy of science, scientific art, or graphic design.
(David M. Hillis, University of Texas at Austin)
Through the long history of drawings and diagrams, J. David Archibald's magnificent new book shows us how people have depicted the diverse interrelated array of life: from linear chains and ladders up through modern evolutionary trees. Archibald's work makes it clear that these relationships have been sensed regardless of the competing ideas of how the patterns were formed: whether through supernatural causes or natural evolutionary processes.
(Niles Eldredge, author of Darwin: Discovering the Tree of Life
Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree provides a fascinating insight into the way biologists use diagrams to show the history of evolution. David Archibald documents the story of these pictures in an engaging and refreshing style, ranging from beautiful early manuscripts and frescoes that display religious and human genealogical relationships, to the most modern phylogenetic trees that appear in scientific journals and textbooks. A great book for a biologist!
(Janet Browne, Harvard University)
Archibald's book is interdisciplinary, authoritative, well-written and complete, with a deep historiographic appreciation of its many subjects.
Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree will be intellectually stimulating for those interested in the history and philosophy of biology, and especially for those impressed by the importance of the visual for the construction of scientific knowledge.
(Reports of the National Center for Science Education
Impressive and rather humbling...
A book that is very much worth reading by anyone who is interested in the conceptual heritage of phylogenetic trees.
About the Author
J. David Archibald is professor emeritus of biology at San Diego State University as well as curator of mammals in the SDSU Vertebrate Collections. He has written or coedited more than 150 articles and 6 books, including The Rise of Placental Mammals: Origins and Relationships of the Major Extant Clades and Extinction and Radiation: How the Fall of Dinosaurs Led to the Rise of Mammals.