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The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution…

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Jonathan Weiner

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1,195266,715 (4.21)79
Title:The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time
Authors:Jonathan Weiner
Info:Vintage (1995), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library, To read (inactive)
Tags:TBR, USA, Pulitzer

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The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner (1994)

  1. 10
    On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: If interested in the source, try Darwin's masterpiece.

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» See also 79 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Poorly written with a fragmented narrative, and shoddy science sensationally presented. ( )
  USVTBioC | Dec 30, 2016 |
I have a science background but not in biology. I was amazed at hoe engrossed I became in this book as it described how the Grants show evolution in action by their finch observations on the Galapagos Islands. Who knew that millimeters of difference in beak size and depth affected the chances of survival of these birds.

The author reviews the research and conclusions of others doing similar research and how most of it fits together to enhance Darwin's work.

The information is revealed a little at a time but there is no lags in interest. This book revealed biological research to me in a manner I had never considered before.

If you are interested in Darwin and his work, I think you should read an amazing book on Darwin and Captain Fitzroy based on their diaries and the survey of the HMS Beagle as well as their lives in general. This book is a great companion read to this great work of non-fiction.

"This Thing of Darkness" by Harry Thompson
http://www.librarything.com/work/5107539/book/100912254 ( )
  Lynxear | Jan 25, 2016 |
A well-written look at contemporary evolutionary scholarship, mostly focused on the long-running detailed studies of Galapagos finches, but extending to work on guppies and moths and bacterial evolution as well. Weiner constantly brings the focus back to how the current work relates back to what Darwin himself thought and wrote about, which I thought a pretty effective stylistic device. Weiner ably conveys the way that evolution by natural selection actually works in practice, and that alone would make this book worth a read. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Oct 26, 2015 |
Interesting read, yet I plodded my way through the first 250 pages. Hmmm. Perhaps I just needed to get to the Big Picture outlined in the last 50 pages (i.e., what it all means in the present and for the future). Fascinating as it should be, the detailed tale of evolutionary biologists' Rosemary and Peter Grant and their colleagues' measurement of finch beaks and collection of 20 years of data about the 13 species of Darwin's finches on the islands of Daphne and Genovesa in the Galapagos becomes a bit tedious at times. The book presents a clear and generally comprehensive survey of the study of evolution, however; how it has worked and is working still, how it operates right now in real time and not only in the past or always in slow motion. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
I had to read this for Core Bio in college. Did they think that, just because we weren't science majors, we would like to read entire books about science and write papers on them? I based my paper off the index. I don't think I did so hot on that paper. ( )
  purplehena | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067973337X, Paperback)

Rosemary and Peter Grant and those assisting them have spend twenty years on Daphne Major, an island in the Galapagos studying natural selection. They recognize each individual bird on the island, when there are four hundred at the time of the author's visit, or when there are over a thousand. They have observed about twenty generations of finches -- continuously.
Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch. In this dramatic story of groundbreaking scientific research, Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin's finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself. The Beak of the Finch is an elegantly written and compelling masterpiece of theory and explication.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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