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Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution [Paperback]

Sean B. Carroll
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 4, 2008 0321556712 978-0321556714 1

These nine short tales vividly depict key discoveries in evolutionary biology and the excitement of the scientific process. Online resources available at

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Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search for Evolution + Why Evolution Is True + Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sean B. Carroll is Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.  Among the most prominent biologists working in the world today, Carroll is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, an award-winning author of  two highly acclaimed books on science for the general public (Endless Forms Most Beautiful and The Making of the Fittest), a widely known charismatic public speaker, an ardent advocate for science education, and a frequent guest on NOVA and other popular television and radio programs. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 scientific papers on animal development and evolution and of two textbooks.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Benjamin Cummings; 1 edition (October 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321556712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321556714
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 5.8 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

SEAN CARROLL is a professor of molecular biology and genetics and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of The Making of the Fittest and Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book but beware of overlaps June 3, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book when recommended by Amazon after purchasing Remarkable Creatures by the same author. WARNING - the chapters in the two books substantially overlap! You are only getting two different chapters. While these chapters are interesting, they do not merit the overlap. Amazon should cease to push these two books together to their customers.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robert Paul Malchow January 22, 2009
The book "Into the Jungle" by Sean Carroll is simply an absolute delight to read. It brings excitement, life and humanity back to the scientific endeavors that led to our appreciation of the importance of evolution. Carroll makes clear that these were truly exciting adventures undertaken by vibrant and sometimes quirky characters whose colorful lives bring the subject truly to life.

Each chapter focuses on the adventures of a different individual - Darwin in the first (of course), followed by Wallace, Bates, Dubois with his Java man, Chapman and his amazing excursion for fossils to China, the Alvarezes and the asteroid impact theory of extinction, Courtenay-Latimer & Smith of coelacanth fame, Tony Allison & the safari to examine the sickle-cell gene story, and last, DeVries and others associated with the ice fish phenomenon.

And adventures they have indeed. The stories are told in a delightfully vivid prose that makes the individuals and the times they lived in really come alive. All this while still having each chapter point out the scientific impact of each of these unique adventures.

At the end of each chapter are 3-5 questions that would require a few sentences to answer. This has made it simply ideal as an adjunct to a course in Introductory Biology. Students in our Honors Program often look for something to supplement their course work during the semester; I point them to this easy to read text and ask them to read the book and hand in a copy of the answers to the questions for each chapter each week and discuss briefly what they have read.

The book is a light an enjoyable read - I simply couldn't put it down. Don't expect extremely detailed and dry analyses of evolutionary theory and data. Rather, expect an adventure!

Robert Paul Malchow, Ph.D.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for High School Students June 12, 2011
By O. Long
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Each chapter in the book is the story of a scientist that helped shape and test the theory of evolution. It has three sections and the first three chapters in section one are about Darwin, Wallace and Bates. The book is great for High School students. It's an easy read, it's interesting, and it has maps and illustrations.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't know how to rate this one October 24, 2008
Sean Carroll: brilliant evolutionary biologist and great author of "Making of the Fittest" [a must read]writes this book for what I'd guess is middle school students. Obviously, Carroll is a major league science popularizer. This book doesn't hook me, though. I don't know if it's just that I'm too old [52] and know the more detailed accounts of many of these stories. I'd like to hear from parents what their kids think of it.

The chapters have questions in the back like a textbook. So it feels like a "school book" [which turns me off as a pleasure reader]. And, in fact, it might work really well in that context...say one story a month throughout the school year.

What middle school book by Sean Carroll would I stand in line for? Explaining the DNA evidence of inter-relatedness across time and species. I think an 8th or 9th grader would just be bursting with interest about such a presentation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased and read this book as part of a university seminar. The book (and the seminar) were great. It is pleasant light reading, not heavy in jargon or advanced concepts. The point to requiring this book was that it chronicles people who went out into the world and thus increased their appreciation and understanding of it. While more and more people talk about conservation, fewer and fewer actually go out and experience our amazing biological resources. The various adventurers in this book went off into the unknown and did the great service of making it known! Through these adventures and discoveries, this book also illustrates some basic evolutionary concepts in a very digestible way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collection of Short Stories about People November 29, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Each chapter of this book is an independent story about some person who made important discoveries that contributed to our understanding of evolution. The list includes Darwin and Wallace (of course), and less-known individuals such as Roy Chapman Andrews who was the model of Indiana Jones. Each chapter is fairly short, about 20 pages on average, and do not have to be read in sequence, so you can just open the book to a random page and start reading. Excellent book to have when you need something that can be read in a relatively short time. The focus of each chapter is more on the person than his/her science so if you want a deeper understanding of evolutionary science, you should read the other books by the same author, namely The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution and Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo. If you are not particularly interested in people, then you will probably find this book boring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely stories about discoveries in evolution September 21, 2013
By Rachel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The process of doing science makes for some wonderful stories. In his book, "Into The Jungle: Great Adventures in the Search of Evolution," renowned scientist Sean B. Carroll tells some of the stories behind great discoveries in evolution. The most famous story of all, the story of Charles Darwin, involved a five-year journey around the world, during which Darwin collected and observed plants, animals, and fossils from all places of the world. After going home again, Darwin then spent twenty years categorizing his discoveries, eventually publishing "The Origin of Species," in which he laid out a truly revolutionary theory of evolution by natural selection. Charles Darwin and the voyage of the Beagle is the most famous story of evolutionary biology. But there are others. Some of these stories include that of Alfred Russell Wallace, who spent years in the jungles of the Amazon River Basin and the Malay archipelago, collecting and observing. He too formed a theory of evolution that was similar to Charles Darwin, a fact that spurred Darwin to finally publish his theory.

All told, the book "Into The Jungle" tells the story behind the science. We get to see Darwin as a bright curious boy with an inability to pay attention. We get to see Darwin as he is traveling around the world, seeing some of the oddities that later spurred him to develop his particular theory of evolution. We get to see Wallace in the jungle, collecting specimens and coming up with his idea of "survival of the fittest.
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