Friday, October 1, 2010

Evolution Since Darwin

I spent last night and this morning reading a number of chapters from the book Evolution Since Darwin: The First 150 Years (2010, ed. by Bell, Futuyma, Eanes, and Levinton; link). The book is the results of a symposium that was held at SUNY-Stony Brook in 2009.

I'm really impressed with this volume. Sometimes edited volumes can be a little dry - who wants to say something really new and important in a book chapter, anyway? But this book is much better than most volumes.

The book starts with an amazingly compact yet comprehensive history of the last 150 years in Evolution (Futuyma). There's a really interesting discussion of what the world would be like if Darwin had died young (Bowler), and a nice discussion of solved and unsolved problems in evolutionary genetics (Zhang). I love the whole section on Diversity and the Tree of Life, with contributions from Losos, Hillis, and Wagner, among others. And that's really just scratching the surface.

The authors have all made a deliberate attempt to tie their chapters to Darwin, following the theme of the book and associated symposium. I don't think this works that well in some of the chapters - it feels more like a distraction at times. But I do see the point of celebrating Darwin! Anyway this doesn't detract from the value of the book, which I highly recommend.

1 comment:

Fluz√£o Eterno said...
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