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Frogs, Flies, and Dandelions: Speciation--The Evolution of New Species 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0198503934
ISBN-10: 0198503938
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perhaps the most long-standing question in evolutionary biology concerns the origin of species. What are the environmental, evolutionary, genetic, geographical, behavioral or physiological conditions necessary for a species to split into two? Schilthuizen, professor of biology at the University of Malaysia Sabah in Malaysia, does a superb job of reviewing the voluminous scientific literature on this topic, distilling it to a manageable size and presenting it in a form that is both engaging and accessible for the nonspecialist. In addition to a good deal of natural history, from descriptions of the mating behaviors of fire-bellied toads to the differences between left- and right-handled snails, Schilthuizen provides an insider's perspective on both laboratory and field experiments. He analyzes in detail the controversy over whether populations must be geographically isolated from one another for new species to be formed, and he describes, with many interesting examples, the role that sexual selectionfemales choosing specific males with whom to matemight play in the speciation process. By including case studies from a wide range of organismsplants, birds, amphibians, fish and mammalshe demonstrates the breadth and vibrancy of his ideas. Although no technical background is required to grasp Schilthuizen's ideas, there is enough substance to engage those moderately knowledgeable about evolutionary biology. Illus.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Curious about the state of affairs of the origin of species? Schilthuizen informatively surveys the ideas that churn around two basic questions: has science noticed the appearance of a new species, and if it has, how did the species arise? The answer to the former is yes, but answers to the latter, proposing mechanisms of speciation, are less emphatic. For long, the reigning theory, synthesized by Ernst Mayr as allopatric speciation, had natural selection working on geographically isolated populations. Although "king of origins" hill in the 1960s, Mayr's thought seemed incomplete to succeeding field biologists, whose observations and experiments Schilthuizen recounts in lively fashion, thanks to animal stories featuring the cave beetles of France, the apple maggots of the Hudson River valley, the cichlid fishes of Africa, and other critters. The revisionists of Mayr touted sympatric speciation, by which a new species evolves within nonisolated populations in response to several pressures, among which sexual selection ranks high. Schilthuizen's enthusiasm, clarity, and humor ought to grab anyone interested in biology and evolution. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 24, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198503938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198503934
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,784,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an extremely entertaining overview of the major theories of how new species emerge during biological evolution. Ideas from the technical literature such as allopatric speciation, sympatric speciation, and speciation through polyploidy are presented with lots of concrete examples, making the ideas very easy to digest.
The science really comes alive in this book. Interviews with the scientists in the thick of research are enough to get you cheering for them. Also, Schilthuizen dramatizes in an engaging way the disputes between advocates of different theories of speciation.
Finally, a useful glossary is provided at the end for anyone rusty on terminology from biology.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick, fun, yet informative, well-referenced, and up-to-date account of the state of the art in evolutionary biology.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was gripping and a joy to read and convinced me even more about evolutionary processes in the context of speciation. It was also terse, punchy and easily understood. The author has done the spadework and interviewed lots of scientists to put this part Journalistic guided tour together.

This book starts with Mayr and the definition of a species - perhaps the best part, and goes into great depth about allopatric speciation before moving onto sympatric modes, polyploidy in plants and instances of possible instant speciation with animals as well.

There are really good examples provided from the Galapagos, Indonesia and Australasia, the lake Chichlid fishes, Banana flies, Insects and yes dandelions. Most of the examples are quite varied and easily appreciated.

I could not fault this extremely informative and enjoyable read. You would find is useful if you need to brush up on the mechanisms of species formation but don't have time to wade through a Mayr or a more expensive and dull textbook.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the deepest questions in evolution is how new species form. A common view is that some members of a species have to become spatially isolated from the other members of the species in order for them to become a new species. This view, that a new species cannot form in the same territory as the old species has been challenged by many biologists who have used a variety of experimental and observational methods. They have shown that natural selection is a bigger factor than isolation in the formation of new species and that members of the same species living in the same territory can occupy different environmental niches. Since each niche is associated with different selection pressures, new species can and do form on the same territory as old ones.

This new chapter of scientific history can now be read by everyone thanks to this clear, entertaining and even amusing book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a quirky little book that gives you a nice overview on species and speciation. I'm an Ecology and Evolutionary biology major, and still find this book useful, but it also keeps things broad enough that a casual reader with little to no biology background could read it as well. It's also filled with small antecdotes that keep it entertaining and feeling more like a casual read than an educational one. Wonderful book if you're interested in learning or expanding your knowledge about species and speciation!
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