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Improbable destinies : fate, chance, and the future of evolution

Author: Jonathan B Losos; Marlin Peterson
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2017. ©2017
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works Earth's natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change-a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze-caused evolution  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
Additional Physical Format: Print version:
Losos, Jonathan B.
Improbable destinies.
New York : Riverhead Books, 2017
(DLC) 2016054594
(OCoLC)965731870
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Jonathan B Losos; Marlin Peterson
ISBN: 9780399184932 0399184937
OCLC Number: 999367270
Notes: Electronic book.
Description: 1 online resource (xv, 368 pages) : illustrations
Contents: Introduction: The good dinosaur --
Part one: Nature's doppelgängers. Evolutionary déjà vu ; Replicated reptiles ; Evolutionary idiosyncrasy --
Part two: Experiments in the wild. The not-so-glacial pace of evolutionary change ; Colorful Trinidad ; Lizard castaways ; From manure to modern science ; Evolution in swimming pools and sandboxes --
Part three: Evolution under the microscope. Replaying the tape ; Breakthrough in a bottle ; Jots, tittles, and drunken fruit flies ; The human environment ; Conclusion: Fate, chance, and the inevitability of humans.
Responsibility: Jonathan B. Losos ; illustrated by Marlin Peterson.

Abstract:

A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works Earth's natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change-a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze-caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world' Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes' And what does that say about life on other planets' Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be. Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

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