The Evolutionary World and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$5.00
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: 311 Ex-Library Book. Very Good condtion except for being an Ex-Library Copy. Clean inside. Light shelf wear.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization Hardcover – November 23, 2010


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, November 23, 2010
$3.93 $1.99 $12.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

100 M&T
100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime
Looking for something good to read? Browse our picks for 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, brought to you by the Amazon Book Editors.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books (November 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031259108X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312591083
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,226 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Combining superb writing with first rate science, Vermeij, a UC-Davis geologist and MacArthur fellow, explores the intricacies of evolution in a way that "show how understanding its mechanisms and consequences yields an emotionally satisfying, esthetically pleasing, and deeply meaningful worldview in which the human condition is bathed in a new light." He focuses on the importance of adaptation, how organisms interact with their environment, and examines the ways that both are altered. Making liberal use of his expertise in natural history, he supports his arguments with thoroughly engaging examples from ecosystems around the globe. Vermeij also redefines the longstanding question of nature vs. nurture so as to make it more accessible to future investigation by asking: "In which circumstances does genetic determination become so rigid that environmental influences on variation wane?" Had Vermeij stopped here, he would have written a wonderful book. He goes on, though, using the concept of adaptation in natural systems to discuss how these principles influence all aspects of human society, from religion to morality. This fabulous book deserves widespread attention by specialists and lay readers alike. (Dec.) (c)
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Vermeij’s first scientific love was for seashells. That led him marine biology to paleontology and, eventually, to the profession of geology, the discipline that, through Lyell’s influence on Darwin, midwifed evolution and remains critical to demonstrating that evolution is the correct mode of thinking about the development of life. In each of 13 chapters, Vermeij takes an aspect of the theory of evolution through adaptation and discusses how the physical evidence ascertained by science verifies the theory. Of course, this involves a lot of particulars about different creatures in different circumstances, all of which his congenial instructive tone and clear exposition make an absorbing joy to read. In each chapter, he also states how the aspect of adaptation at hand can be seen in human development, from the phenotype to civilization. He says his aim is to convince us that no supernatural agency is necessary to the development of life. But he’s no philosopher and misses that mark completely. As an explicator of evolution, however, he’s first class. --Ray Olson

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
2
4 star
0
3 star
1
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those who loved Jared Diamond's book Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, like I surely did, this book is a wonderful prequel. It is such a rarity to find a book that is fascinating, well written, and just generally fun to read - and this book is all three! Professor Vermeij states early on that, "The challenge for scientists like me, and one of the goals of this book, is not only to demystify evolution, but also to show how understanding its mechanisms and consequences yields an emotionally satisfying, aesthetically pleasing, and deeply meaningful worldview in which the human condition is bathed in a new light...I want readers of this book to come away with a firmer grasp of the grandeur of evolution - its facts, mechanisms, puzzles, directions, and implications - but above all, I want them to glimpse the love of the living world that an exploration of evolutionary concepts can elicit." In terms of putting forth a sweeping natural history of life on earth, united with an impeccable understanding of evolutionary science, Professor Vermeij has done a marvelous service to the general public by writing this book. It is extraordinary.

Whether Vermeij is detailing the intricacies of snail shells, green crabs, phenotypic plasticity, or genetic assimilation, the substance is never tiresome. The text is full of brilliant observations: "Inequality and imperfection, then, appear to be universal and necessary accompaniments to life itself," "Imperfection permits selection, which in turn contributes to adaptation.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Tim Tyler on September 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I skimmed this book before I read it. It seemed to have a lot about seashells. It put me off. When I finally got around to reading it my opinion changed. This is a pretty good book by an evolutionist who knows their topic very well. Yes, the examples all seem to involve seashells, but the author is evidently an experienced master of his topic with large concerns and lots of experience. For example, his treatment of capitalism and communism is much more mature and balanced than the one found in Robert Frank's book "The Darwin Economy". Not bad for an expert on seashells. However, by the end of the book my enthusiasm had begun to wane a little. Did I really need to learn so many details about seashells? Probably not.

It's a unique book, but it is definitely not a good source on the topic of universal Darwinism. There are just too many seashells.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Robinson on December 29, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I gave this book 3 stars using my scoring system, in which 5 stars is very good-will read again, 4 stars is very good-will probably read again, 3 stars is worth reading-will probably not read again, 2 stars is found it difficult to finish reading and 1 star is wish I'd never heard of this book.

So, in my opinion, 3 stars is the minimum score justifying the effort of reading a book (the book's true cost), and actually, I was very tempted to give it 2 stars, because of the author's style in writing. To me, initially, it seemed to be at a level somewhat between technical writing, that you might find in a science journal, and science writing you might find in books intended for the general population. I have another hypothesis ...

I personally think that books should be written at a level of English understandable by a 12 year old (at around the level of a Harry Potter novel, which is actually quite a good level). The actual subject matter might actually not be understandable by a 12 year old, but that's beside the point. If it's written at a higher level, then it's either for the author's enjoyment or for the sake of the book, not its content.

In one section the author writes; "In the pre-human past, most of the disruptions that placed entrenched incumbents at risk of being supplanted originated outside the biosphere. Geological convulsions in the Earth, collisions between Earth and celestial objects, and the ripple effects that these larger-than-life agencies had on the capacities of organisms to make a living were responsible for the great mass extinctions and for the innumerable lesser calamities that are so well revealed by the fossil record". 'Geological convulsions?' (super-volcanos?). 'Celestial bodies?' (asteroids?).
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Search
ARRAY(0x9fe03a74)

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?