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Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674862500
ISBN-10: 0674862503
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Editorial Reviews

Review

[This book] should be read by all biologists, professional and amateur. (Natural History (review of the first edition))

A source book on its subject...of lasting value. (New York Times (review of the first edition))

From the Back Cover

Praise for the first edition: [This book] should be read by all biologists, professional and amateur.-Natural History
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674862503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674862500
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,231,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book belongs on every serious biologist's bookshelf -when it isn't on your desk, in your easy chair, in the clutches of your students, etc. Not as "easy a read" as Mayr's more "popular" books like the wonderful ONE LONG ARGUMENT, this was and is a definitive statement on key elements of the evolutionary synthesis. Get it & read it!
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I'm not a biologist. My graduate degree is in geology. However, I specialized in micropaleontology and my thesis adviser made this book required reading in her graduate level micropaleontology overview course. If this isn't required reading for ALL students studying paleontology, it should be. It's an eye-opener. Mayr clearly outlines the factors that bring about origin and separation of species. Very readable to anyone with any sort of science background and a must-own for anyone with an interest in natural sciences.
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Format: Paperback
Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was one of the leading evolutionary biologists, whose concept of speciation as a key to evolutionary development was critical for such persons as Stephen Jay Gould.

Mayr notes that "It is quite true ... that Darwin's book was misnamed, because it is a book on evolutionary changes in general and the factors that control them (selection, and so forth), but not a treatise on the origin of species."

His basic idea is that "No special evolutionary processes need to be postulated, even in groups where such missing links have not het been found and where the primitive roots of the various stems always seem to be missing. Aberrant types can be produced only in effective isolation and in rather small distributional areas. The number of individuals in such populations is small and the probability that they will leave a fossil record is very small."

He rejects Goldschmidt's "hopeful monster" theory (proposed in Goldschmidt's book The Material Basis of Evolution: Reissued (Silliman Milestones in Science)), yet notes that "The fact that an eminent contemporary geneticist (Goldschmidt) can come to conclusions which are diametrically opposed to those of most other geneticists is striking evidence of the extent of our ignorance." He says that theorists like Goldschmidt "fail to define what THEY consider a species."

He suggests that "geographic variation is of very common occurrence among animals and that it affects, so far as known, all taxonomic characters, that is, all the actual and potential differences between species.
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Format: Paperback
Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was one of the leading evolutionary biologists, whose concept of speciation as a key to evolutionary development was critical for such persons as Stephen Jay Gould.

Mayr notes that "It is quite true ... that Darwin's book was misnamed, because it is a book on evolutionary changes in general and the factors that control them (selection, and so forth), but not a treatise on the origin of species."

His basic idea is that "No special evolutionary processes need to be postulated, even in groups where such missing links have not het been found and where the primitive roots of the various stems always seem to be missing. Aberrant types can be produced only in effective isolation and in rather small distributional areas. The number of individuals in such populations is small and the probability that they will leave a fossil record is very small."

He rejects Goldschmidt's "hopeful monster" theory (proposed in Goldschmidt's book The Material Basis of Evolution yet notes that "The fact that an eminent contemporary geneticist (Goldschmidt) can come to conclusions which are diametrically opposed to those of most other geneticists is striking evidence of the extent of our ignorance." He says that theorists like Goldschmidt "fail to define what THEY consider a species."

He suggests that "geographic variation is of very common occurrence among animals and that it affects, so far as known, all taxonomic characters, that is, all the actual and potential differences between species.
Read more ›
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