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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

on June 25, 2017
Quick delivery, good additional resource for my graduate class.
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on June 19, 2016
Book came as described. reliable seller
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on April 28, 2017
great book and service
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on June 27, 2011
I am a high school science teacher (Biology/Chemistry). I was looking for extra supplemental material to present as evolution and genetic changes are a big part of our State standards. This book will give me a lot of extra material to present and is well written and contains good figures and meaningful examples. In looking through it this book is an excellent resource for an introductory college course in evolution. I recommend it highly.
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on April 13, 2013
Covers all the major topics in evolution. Brief but good on history though short changes Wallace. Up-to-date on key topics.
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on May 12, 2011
This is a great overview of evolutionary biology. Informative yet engaging to the reader. A strong recommendation for anyone looking to explore the biology of evolution, systematics, and genetics.
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on April 14, 2010
Great book for every student interested in evolution and speciation. Concepts are clear and the examples are classics. Its an excellent reference for basic concepts of evolution.
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on February 19, 2014
The book was in a good shape as declared.
The price was perfect compared with similar products I have searched for.
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Douglas J. Futuyma (born 1942) is an American biologist who is a professor of ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In this 2nd edition (1986) of his textbook, he states that "The book begins, as before, with a history of the subject and with elementary ecology and genetics, but then proceeds through the genetics of evolutionary change to speciation and adaptation, on to historical evolution (systematics, paleontology, biogeography) and then to a historical, genetic, and developmental perspective on macroevolution. It ends with chapters on the special topics of molecular evolution, coevolution, and human evolution."

In the first chapter, he presents evolution "as fact and theory," and asserts, "Almost without exception, opponents of evolution today maintain their position not on grounds of logical arguments, much less on grounds of evidence, but on the basis of emotions and religious beliefs."

Concerning the fossil record, he writes, "For most groups, especially those that do not fossilize readily, the paleontological record is too fragmentary to be useful. Even in groups with a good fossil record, there are seldom evenly graded series of fossils between old and young forms.... Fossils can provide corroboration of relationships: for example, reptiles appear before mammals, and there are numerous intermediates between the two groups. But relationships cannot be inferred solely from temporary sequences of fossils." (pg. 299)

He rejects the notion of Panspermia (i.e., an extraterrestial source of life; see Francis Crick's Life Itself (Touchstone Books (Paperback))), saying, "There is no reason to argue that the inability of chemists to synthesize life de novo in a mere thirty years of experimentation is evidence against the origin of life on earth." (pg. 323)

He later states, "The origin of flight in birds illustrates the role of preadaptation in the evolution of a major adaptive shift.... A critical prerequisite of flight is the ability to generate lift by moving the forelimbs down and forward. Deinonychus and related coelurosaurs, uniquely among the reptiles, had long forelimbs capable of exactly these movements."

Concerning molecular evolution, he writes, "As at these higher levels of biological organization, phenomena at the molecular level require and are given explanation, unity, and coherence not only by reduction to submolecular forces, but by the compositionist theory of evolution." (pg. 480)
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on March 1, 2001
As a teacher and an Evolutionary Biologist, it's disappointing that there aren't many textbooks or scholarly works, particularly in the field of evolution, that are both accessible and scientifically rigorous. Doug Futuyma has done an excellent job of making this work both.
Textbooks are unfortunately often written by professionals who seem more interested in impressing their colleagues with the elegance of their explanations than in presenting their material in an easy-to-understand way for students. What we teachers usually end up with in those cases are texts that make our job more difficult, forcing us to re-explain material that students have already paid lots of money to read. This book does a good job of keeping that to a minimum.
This is not an easy task with a subject like evolution. First, evolution is not simply "survival of the fittest". In fact, it's hardly that at all. It is vastly more complex; it is a very elegant process by which much of the complexity of our universe, particularly living systems, came to be.
Second, evolution has been so misunderstood, and misrepresented, both intentionally and unintentionally, for so long, that it is often difficult for the uninitiated to understand what biologists really mean when we talk about it. This is becoming even more of a problem as other fields of study, particularly the Social Sciences, see it's utility and begin using it without always understanding it completely. The result of all this is that the common view of evolution bears little, if any, resemblance to the scientific theory.
I used an earlier edition of this book in my first undergraduate class in the subject, and today as a professional Evolutionary Biologist I still keep it on the shelf over my desk as a reference and teaching aid. I recommend this book to anyone who seriously wants to understand evolution and why all modern biology is built upon this single theory.
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