Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,113257,423 (4.23)65
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

Work details

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

  1. 00
    On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (Sandydog1)
    Sandydog1: If interested in the source, try Darwin's masterpiece.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 65 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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 |
Superb book on evolution ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 30, 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 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
2 avail.
15 wanted
4 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.23)
1 1
1.5 1
2 3
3 21
3.5 8
4 87
4.5 19
5 77


An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,856,394 books! | Top bar: Always visible