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Evolution Paperback – January 7, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A concise and engaging summary of modern evolutionary theory."―The Midwest Book Review

"Provides a concise and engaging summary of modern evolutionary theory, for students and general readers with little or no formal training in science."―SciTech Book News, December 1999

"The book is a concise, lucid introduction to evolutionary biology for the layperson. Among the valuable resources is a discussion of molecular biology that contains references to 1996 and so is fairly up to date. The drawings and charts make the text easier for a nonspecialist to follow."―Karen Bartelt, Reports of the National Center for Science Education. May/June 2000

"Under a single cover, a well-balanced and generally readable summary of modern evolutionary theory. . . Well-illustrated."―Northeastern Naturalist, Issue 8/1, 2001

About the Author

Patterson was employed in the Palaeontology department of the Natural History Museum in London from 1962 until 1993.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Comstock Publishing Associates; 2 edition (January 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801485940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801485947
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,813,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Robert E. Helmerichs on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent textbook-style introduction to its topic. Although a few of the more nuts-and-bolts chapters were pretty tough going for a Humanities guy like myself, overall the book is quite readable, amply illustrated, and very broad in its coverage. The topics include biological (heredity, genetics, mutation, selection) aspects of evolution, both in terms of internal mechanics and of large-scale case-studies, as well as political and religious considerations. It also includes an appendix with biographies of the major figures in evolutionary thought, a glossary, and a brief annotated bibliography. Although Richard Dawkins' _River out of Eden_ is shorter and more user-friendly, this is the most comprehensive brief introduction to the topic that I've seen.
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Colin Patterson (1933-1998) was the Senior Principal Scientific Officer in the Paleontology Department of British Museum of Natural History in London, from 1962-1993. He also gave a famous (infamous?) talk at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on November 5, 1981, in which he asked the discussion group listening, "Can you tell me anything about evolution, any one thing that is true?" (Creationists had secretly taped this talk, and now sell recordings and transcripts of it.) He also wrote Molecules and Morphology in Evolution: Conflict or Compromise?.

This book was originally written in 1978, and it was revised by him in 1999. He states in the Foreword to the 1978 edition, "In writing this book I have set out to produce an account of modern evolutionary theory which does not beg too many questions, and is complete enough to be coherent, but simple enough to be comprehensible to those with little or no technical knowledge of biology." He begins by stating, "The modern theory of evolution is the basis of biological science. It is an idea that unifies and directs work in all sorts of specialized fields, from medicine to geology."

He states (1st edition), "Many species have features, like individual bristles in insects, details of wing coloration in butterflies or fingerprint patterns in man, which are genetically controlled, but appear to be so trivial that they can make no difference to the survival of the individual, and can have no selective value.... If these features are useless, how did they become fixed by natural selection?
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Bought for an Evolution class; very comprehensive and a very good reference for Evolutionary study but not my favorite to pick and read. Essential for class study.
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By corn92 on August 28, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was very much brand new, as it was said in the description when i purchased the book. I loved it
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