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

by Jonathan Weiner

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1,023238,298 (4.22)52
Member:hemlokgang
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)
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Tags:TBR, USA, Pulitzer

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

Recently added bySigmundFraud, private library, dmofnd22, boscot, gandannie, Chad_S, Maureen7890, Kewlu, empress8411
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    On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: If interested in the source, try Darwin's masterpiece.
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Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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 |
An interesting view of the Grants' study of finches in the Galapagos - and some fascinating implications, continuations, and conclusions drawn from the same. The first two-thirds of the book is a quite detailed description, including quotes and first-person reports, of the twenty-plus year (as of 1994, when the book was published) study of the finches on Daphne Major and other islands in the Galapagos; the methods used to determine variation (beak measurements, mostly), the results of odd weather - drought and flood - on the finches and their variation, and the interim conclusions drawn from analysis of this data. Then it goes on to discuss other analyses, revealing similar (though less visible, and overlooked until they knew what to look for) patterns of variation in response to events in other populations. Throughout, it's related back to Darwin's perception of evolution as slow, with the data contradicting that. Evolution happens constantly - it just, usually, flickers back and forth on a continuum, so looking at a distance there's no great change. When situations continue to lean one way, changes become stronger, more widespread and more permanent...for a limited definition of permanent, since the flicker of changes continues. I spotted the link to diseases half a chapter before it was directly discussed, but once it was mentioned it was covered quite thoroughly. All in all, a fascinating book, that makes sense out of a good many things I knew but didn't see patterns in. This is one that will permanently change my view of the world. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Aug 16, 2012 |
This was a compulsory text for my class on Evolution during my undergraduate days, but it stuck firmly in my mind years after I moved on to other fields. Weiner's writing has a journalistic tone, but flows well and kept me consistently interested. He takes the mysticism out of Darwin's Theory of Evolution, describing key modern efforts to research speciation and clarify his ideas centuries after the HMS Beagle landed on the shores of the Galapagos islands. My one gripe with the book is its slight political slant, with anecdotes from researchers about one-upping religious zealots and a final chapter characterizing the bulk of the American public as closed-minded. A more tolerant approach could have opened up the audience to that same public. Otherwise, I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a clearer understanding of evolutionary theory without the bulky textbooks. ( )
  tkmarnell | Jan 15, 2012 |
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:18 -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)

» see all 2 descriptions

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