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What Evolution Is (2001)
by Ernst Mayr
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0465044263, Paperback)Gathering insights from his seven-decade career, the renowned biologist Ernst Mayr argues that evolution is now to be considered not a theory but a fact--and that "there is not a single Why? question in biology that can be answered adequately without a consideration of evolution."
Mayr, emeritus professor of zoology at Harvard University, has long been one of the world's foremost researchers in genetic and evolutionary theory. In this overview of past and current scientific thought, he discusses key concepts and terms, among them the origin of species, the (somewhat metaphorical) "struggle for existence," and agents of micro- and macroevolution. Somewhat against the grain, he argues against reduction and for the study of evolution at the phenotypic, not genetic, level. In his concluding pages, Mayr offers a careful overview of human evolution, adding his view that humankind is indeed unique--though "it has not yet completed the transition from quadrupedal to bipedal life in all of its structures."
Advanced students of the life sciences, as well as readers looking for a survey of current evolutionary theory, will find Mayr's book a useful companion. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 13 Jan 2013 17:15:48 -0500)
A pillar of evolutionary biology, Mayr (comparative zoology, Harvard U.) writes for three types of readers: anyone, biologist or not, who wants to know more about evolution; those who accept evolution but doubt the Darwinian explanation of it; and creationists who want to learn more about it even if only to challenge it better.
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