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The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in…
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The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History (original 1980; edition 1992)

by Stephen Jay Gould

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1,835167,003 (4.05)19
For better science students, this is a collection of 31 essays on natural history.
Member:shsilver
Title:The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
Authors:Stephen Jay Gould
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1992), Edition: 0, Paperback, 352 pages
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The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould (1980)

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Collected Essays:

Section 1: Perfections and Imperfections: A Trilogy on Panda's Thumb
The general point of these essays is that it's the obviously odd and approximate solutions that are the most convincing for the case of evolution,
rather than the impressive. Also, Darwin's enthusiasm for orchids makes sense considered this way, since the orchids' contrivances for consuming insects are all adaptations of the structures of normal flowers.
  themulhern | Dec 4, 2020 |
As with Ever Since Darwin, some of these essays have dated a bit over the years, and I don't always agree with what Gould says. But these short pieces do always make for a good read, and there are the typical gems here: Mickey Mouse's neoteny, the Piltdown hoax, the fate of South American marsupials, and "Nature's Odd Couples" stand out for me. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Feb 27, 2016 |
More of his brilliant columns. ( )
  hcubic | Aug 2, 2015 |
a conglomeration of Gould’s articles and essays about various scientific troubles, anomalies, and paradigm shift resistance specifically aimed at creationist and other anti-science movements, if one can call such things movements. Many times, Gould speaks to the biased human minds that make up the scientific community and the sociological and cultural pressures operating within and upon it. it holds up remarkably well since its publication over 30 years ago.

from Haekel’s insistence on evolutionary recapitulation and Kirkpatrick's insistence that all rocks were made of fossils to Agassiz’s overt racism to the fall of gradualism and dinosaurs’ coldblooded nature, this book is a great panorama of the history of science. the picture it creates is an honest one even if it’s not very pleasant to our egos sometimes. but that’s what science is all about, i think. ( )
1 vote keebrook | Mar 10, 2015 |
This is another collection of essays written in 1980 as reflections on natural history. In this book, Gould addresses human evolution, scientific errors, punctuated evolution and other sometimes controversial topics revolving around the legacy of Charles Darwin. It is classic writing, but relevant nevertheless to modern discussion which is renewed with the advent of DNA analysis and our increasing understanding of relationships between living and historical life forms. ( )
  mldavis2 | Feb 21, 2015 |
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Stephen Jay Gouldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ros, JoandomènecTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A teacher ... can never tell where his influence stops.
-Henry Adams
Dedication
For: Jeanette McInerney, Ester L. Ponti, Rene C. Stack. Three dedicated and compassionate teachers of my primary years, P.S. 26, Queens.
First words
Few heroes lower their sights in the prime of their lives; triumph leads inexorably on, often to destruction.
Prologue: On the title page of his classic book, The Cell in Development and Inheritance, E.B. Wilson inscribedd a motto from Pliny, the great natural historian who died in his boots when he sailed across the Bay of Naples to study the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
Quotations
Results rarely specify their causes unambiguously. If we have no direct evidence of fossils or human chronicles, if we are forced to infer a process only from its modern results, then we are usually stymied or reduced to speculation about probabilities. For many roads lead to almost any Rome. (from: Senseless signs of history)
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For better science students, this is a collection of 31 essays on natural history.

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W.W. Norton

An edition of this book was published by W.W. Norton.

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