The Variety of Life

A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived

Author: Colin Tudge

Publisher: Survey and a Celebration of Al

ISBN: 9780198604266

Category: Nature

Page: 684

View: 6853

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Whatever living thing the reader comes across, from E coli to an oak tree or an elephant, this volume aims to show what kind of creature it is, and how it relates to all the others. Yet there are far too many creatures to present merely as a catalogue.
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Under a Wild Sky

John James Audubon and the Making of the Birds of America

Author: William Souder

Publisher: Milkweed Editions

ISBN: 1571319239

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 384

View: 4536

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John James Audubon is renowned for his masterpiece of natural history and art, The Birds of America, the first nearly comprehensive survey of the continent’s birdlife. And yet few people understand, and many assume incorrectly, what sort of man he was. How did the illegitimate son of a French sea captain living in Haiti, who lied both about his parentage and his training, rise to become one of the greatest natural historians ever and the greatest name in ornithology? In Under a Wild Sky this Pulitzer Prize finalist, William Souder reveals that Audubon did not only compose the most famous depictions of birds the world has ever seen, he also composed a brilliant mythology of self. In this dazzling work of biography, Souder charts the life of a driven man who, despite all odds, became the historical figure we know today.
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Evolution

What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters

Author: Donald R. Prothero

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231511426

Category: Science

Page: 408

View: 4892

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Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before. The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the "monkey business of creationism," Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process. Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.
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The Naming of the Shrew

A Curious History of Latin Names

Author: John Wright

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1408820358

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 303

View: 9513

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Latin names – frequently unpronounceable, all too often wrong and always a tiny puzzle to unravel – have been annoying the layman since they first became formalised as scientific terms in the eighteenth century. Why on earth has the entirely land-loving Eastern Mole been named Scalopus aquaticus, or the Oxford Ragwort been called Senecio squalidus – 'dirty old man'? What were naturalists thinking when they called a beetle Agra katewinsletae, a genus of fish Batman, and a Trilobite Han solo? Why is zoology replete with names such as Chloris chloris chloris (the greenfinch), and Gorilla gorilla gorilla (a species of, well gorilla)? The Naming of the Shrew will unveil these mysteries, exploring the history, celebrating their poetic nature and revealing how naturalists sometimes get things so terribly wrong. With wonderfully witty style and captivating narrative, this book will make you see Latin names in a whole new light.
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The Secret Life of Trees

How They Live and Why They Matter

Author: Colin Tudge

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141927291

Category: Science

Page: 464

View: 4276

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'Everyone interested in the natural world will enjoy The Secret Life of Trees. I found myself reading out whole chunks to friends' The Times, Books of the Year What is a tree? As this celebration of the trees shows, they are our countryside; our ancestors descended from them; they gave us air to breathe. Yet while the stories of trees are as plentiful as leaves in a forest, they are rarely told. Here, Colin Tudge travels from his own back garden round the world to explore the beauty, variety and ingenuity of trees everywhere: from how they live so long to how they talk to each other and why they came to exist in the first place. Lyrical and evocative, this book will make everyone fall in love with the trees around them.
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Philosophy of Biology

Author: Brian Garvey

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317493672

Category: Philosophy

Page: 320

View: 1989

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This major new series in the philosophy of science aims to provide a new generation of textbooks for the subject. The series will not only offer fresh treatments of core topics in the theory and methodology of scientific knowledge, but also introductions to newer areas of the discipline. Furthermore, the series will cover topics in current science that raise significant foundational issues both for scientific theory and for philosophy more generally. Biology raises distinct questions of its own not only for philosophy of science, but for metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. This comprehensive new textbook for a rapidly growing field of study provides students new to the subject with an up-to-date presentation of the key philosophical issues. Care is taken throughout to keep the technicalities accessible to the non-biologist but without sacrificing the philosophical subtleties. The first part of the book covers the philosophical challenges posed by evolution and evolutionary biology, beginning with Darwin's central argument in the Origin of the Species. Individual chapters cover natural selection, the selfish gene, alternative units of selection, developmental systems theory, adaptionism and issues in macroevolution. The second part of the book examines philosophical questions arising in connection with biological traits, function, nature and nurture, and biological kinds. The third part of the book examines metaphysical questions, biology's relation with the traditional concerns of philosophy of science, and how evolution has been introduced into epistemological debates. The final part considers the relevance of biology to questions about ethics, religion and human nature.
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How the Earth Turned Green

A Brief 3.8-Billion-Year History of Plants

Author: Joseph E. Armstrong

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022606980X

Category: Science

Page: 576

View: 7177

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On this blue planet, long before pterodactyls took to the skies and tyrannosaurs prowled the continents, tiny green organisms populated the ancient oceans. Fossil and phylogenetic evidence suggests that chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for coloring these organisms, has been in existence for some 85% of Earth’s long history—that is, for roughly 3.5 billion years. In How the Earth Turned Green, Joseph E. Armstrong traces the history of these verdant organisms, which many would call plants, from their ancient beginnings to the diversity of green life that inhabits the Earth today. Using an evolutionary framework, How the Earth Turned Green addresses questions such as: Should all green organisms be considered plants? Why do these organisms look the way they do? How are they related to one another and to other chlorophyll-free organisms? How do they reproduce? How have they changed and diversified over time? And how has the presence of green organisms changed the Earth’s ecosystems? More engaging than a traditional textbook and displaying an astonishing breadth, How the Earth Turned Green will both delight and enlighten embryonic botanists and any student interested in the evolutionary history of plants.
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Endocrine Disrupters

Environmental Health and Policies

Author: Polyxeni Nicolopoulou-Stamati,Luc Hens,Vyvyan C. Howard

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 9401597693

Category: Medical

Page: 377

View: 9808

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During recent decades, millions of tonnes of man-made chemicals have been produced and released into the environment, with very little safety testing. Many of these chemical substances have been found to interfere with the endocrine system and modulate its function. This book not only overviews the effects of endocrine/disrupting substances on human health, but also addresses the regulatory problems from the point of view of international organisations, including the WHO, the EU, and the European Chlorine Industry. This volume contains the proceedings of a workshop held at the International Hippocrates Foundation on Kos Island, Greece, in September 1999. The workshop was part of the activities of the ASPIS project, which aims at raising awareness of environmental health impacts among multidisciplinary groups. The contributions to this volume are the result of the interaction of participants at the workshop. As such, it addresses the issue of endocrine disrupters from many different points of view and allows the subject to be approached by a multidisciplinary readership, including: decision makers, medical doctors, environmental experts, post/and undergraduate students, lawyers, engineers, and journalists.
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