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Both natural and cultural selection played an important role in shaping human evolution. Since cultural change can itself be regarded as evolutionary, a process of gene-culture coevolution is operative. The study of human evolution - in past, present and future - is therefore not restricted to biology. An inclusive comprehension of human evolution relies on integrating insights about cultural, economic and technological evolution with relevant elements of evolutionary biology. In addition, proximate causes and effects of cultures need to be added to the picture - issues which are at the forefront of social sciences like anthropology, economics, geography and innovation studies. This book highlights discussions on the many topics to which such generalised evolutionary thought has been applied: the arts, the brain, climate change, cooking, criminality, environmental problems, futurism, gender issues, group processes, humour, industrial dynamics, institutions, languages, medicine, music, psychology, public policy, religion, sex, sociality and sports.
For centuries, botanists have been drawn to the rarest species, sometimes with dire consequences for the species' survival. In this book, Great Britain's rarest flowering plants are discussed in turn, including the stories behind their discovery, the reasons for their rarity, and the work being done to save them from dying out. It is hoped that it will help to throw light on some of the species that normally gain little attention, and foster an appreciation of our most threatened plants. This guide describes 66 native species of plants that have the most narrowly restricted ranges in Great Britain. These range from continental, warmth-loving species in the south of England to those found only on the highest Scottish mountains. Each species is shown together with its habitat to allow the reader to better understand the ecological context. Other scarce plants in the same area are indicated.
Every rock is a tangible trace of the earth's past. In The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks, Donald R. Prothero tells the fascinating stories behind the discoveries that shook the foundations of geology. In twenty-five chapters-each about a particular rock, outcrop, or geologic phenomenon-Prothero recounts the scientific detective work that took us from the unearthing of exemplary specimens to tectonic shifts in how we view our planet and history. Prothero follows in the footsteps of the scientists who asked-and answered-geology's biggest questions: How do we know how old the earth is? What happened to the supercontinent Pangea? How did ocean rocks end up at the top of Mount Everest? What can we learn about our planet from meteorites and moon rocks? The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks answers these questions through expertly chosen case studies, such as Pliny the Elder's firsthand account of the eruption of Vesuvius; the granite outcrops that led a Scottish scientist to theorize that the landscapes he witnessed were far older than Noah's Flood; the gypsum deposits under the Mediterranean Sea that indicate that it was once a desert; and how trying to date the age of meteorites revealed the dangers of lead poisoning. Each of these breakthroughs filled in a piece of the puzzle that is the earth, with scientific discoveries dovetailing with each other to offer increasingly solid evidence of the geologic past. Summarizing a wealth of information in an entertaining, approachable style, The Story of the Earth in 25 Rocks is essential reading for the armchair geologist, the rock hound, and all who are curious about the earth beneath their feet.
What it takes to be a genius: nine essential and contradictory ingredients. What does it take to be a genius? A high score on an IQ test? Brilliant physicist Richard Feynman's IQ was too low for membership in Mensa. Suffering from varying degrees of mental illness? Creativity is often considered a marker of mental health. Be a child prodigy like Mozart, or a later bloomer like Beethoven? Die tragically young, like Keats, or live to a ripe old age like Goethe? In The Genius Checklist, Dean Keith Simonton examines the key factors in creative genius and finds that they are more than a little contradictory. Simonton, who has studied creativity and genius for more than four decades, draws on both scientific research and stories from the lives of famous creative geniuses that range from Isaac Newton to Vincent van Gogh to Virginia Woolf. He explains the origin of IQ tests and the art of estimating the IQ of long-dead historical figures (John Stuart Mill: 200; Charles Darwin: 160). He compares IQ scores with achieved eminence as measures of genius, and he draws a distinction between artistic and scientific genius. He rules out birth order as a determining factor (in the James family alone, three geniuses at three different birth-order positions: William James, firs-tborn; Henry James, second born; Alice James, born fifth and last); considers Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule; and describes how the "lone" genius gets enmeshed in social networks. Genius, Simonton explains, operates in ways so subtle that they seem contradictory. Genius is born and made, the domain of child prodigies and their elders. Simonton's checklist gives us a new, integrative way to understand geniuses-and perhaps even to nurture your own genius!
This groundbreaking book explores the recent revolution in psychotherapy that has brought an understanding of the social nature of people's brains to a therapeutic context. Louis Cozolino is a master at synthesising neuroscientific information and demonstrating how it applies to psychotherapy practise. New material on altruism, executive function, trauma and change round out this essential book.
A fully revised edition of the classic work on modern genetics, updated to coincide with the complete sequence of human DNA, cloning and genetically manipulated foods.
'Not so much divination or demystification…An attempt to bring genetics and evolution into the public domain. If, for instance, you ever wondered just what genetic engineering is about, here is as good a place as any to discover. Few have Jones's ability to communicate a difficult idea with such humour, clarity, precision and ease.'
'Jones is sensitive to the social issues raised by genetics…yet his interest reaches beyond contemporary social issues to the human past, to what genetics can and cannot tell us about our evolution and patterns of social development. He interleaves a broad knowledge of biology with considerations of cultural, demographic and – as his title indicates – linguistic history. Jones's book is at once instructive and captivating.'
'Trenchant, witty and enlightening…Jones's literate and wide-ranging book is an essential sightseer's guide to our own genetic terrain.'
This brilliant and witty book…is highly literate, and Jones goes a long way to bridging the deepening chasm between the two cultures. Not to know how genes affect us is to ignore the central factor in our lives.'
'Smoothly written and easily read…An absorbing and fascinating romp around the world of genetics.'
In contrast with the fundamental ecological expectation that similarity induces competition and loss of species, temporal dynamics allows similar species to co-occur. In fact, the coexistence of similar species contributes significantly to species diversity and could affect ecosystem response to climate change. However, because temporal processes take place over time, they have often been a challenge to document or even to identify. Temporal Dynamics and Ecological Process brings together studies that have met this challenge and present two specific aspects of temporal processes: reproductive scheduling and the stable coexistence of similar species. By using plants to extract general principles, these studies uncover deep ties between temporal niche dynamics and the above central ecological issues, thereby providing a better understanding of what drives temporal processes in nature. Written by leading scientists in the field, this title will be a valuable source of reference to research ecologists and those interested in temporal ecology.
‘A brilliant piece of persuasion, excitingly argued and compulsively readable. Its lucid metaphors and charming analogies are reminiscent of The Origin of Species’ - James Moore in The Times Higher Education Supplement‘Superb … Kicking off with an elegant discussion of Darwin and his antecedents … Dennett looks back at the origins of life and early evolution before getting fully into his stride with a devastating destruction of the anti-Darwinian case … This is the best single-author overview of all the implications of evolution by natural selection available … deserves a place on the bookshelves of every thinking person’ - John Gribbin in the Sunday Times ‘Dennett’s book brings together science and philosophy with wit, complex clarity and an infectious sense that these ideas matter, to us and the way we live now’ - A. S. Byatt in the Sunday Times Books of the Year ‘Why is Darwin’s idea "dangerous"? Because … it cuts through every cherished notion we hold in life, from the simplest to the most complex, from the most abstract to the most personal … a bold work … you will come away from Darwin’s Dangerous Idea sated and stimulated, whether or not you agree with its thesis’ - Roger Lewin in the New Scientist ‘A surpassingly brilliant book. Where creative, it lifts the reader to new intellectual heights. Where critical it is devastating. Dennett shows that intellectuals have been powerfully misled on evolutionary matters and his book will undo much damage’ - Richard Dawkins ‘This is a rich, tenacious book, and many will find their understanding of Darwin’s theory deepened by it’ - Galen Strawson in the Independent on Sunday
We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties. The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book."
Few people have done as much to change how we view the world as Charles Darwin. Yet On the Origin of Species is more cited than read, and parts of it are even considered outdated. In some ways, it has been consigned to the nineteenth century. In The Theory That Changed Everything, the renowned cognitive scientist Philip Lieberman demonstrates that there is no better guide to the world's living--and still evolving--things than Darwin and that the phenomena he observed are still being explored at the frontiers of science. In an exploration that ranges from Darwin's transformative trip aboard the Beagle to Lieberman's own sojourns in the remotest regions of the Himalayas, this book relates fresh, contemporary findings to the major concepts of Darwinian theory, which transcends natural selection. Drawing on his own research into the evolution of human linguistic and cognitive abilities, Lieberman explains the paths that adapted human anatomy to language. He demystifies the role of recently identified transcriptional and epigenetic factors encoded in DNA, explaining how nineteenth-century Swedish famines alternating with years of plenty caused survivors' grandchildren to die many years short of their life expectancy. Lieberman is equally at home decoding supermarket shelves and climbing with the Sherpas as he discusses how natural selection explains features from lactose tolerance to ease of breathing at Himalayan altitudes. With conversational clarity and memorable examples, Lieberman relates the insights that led to groundbreaking discoveries in both Darwin's time and our own while asking provocative questions about what Darwin would have made of controversial issues today, such as GMOs, endangered species, and the God question.
The real story of how our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes-with or without "brain training." Fifty years ago, neuroscientists thought that a mature brain was fixed like a fly in amber, unable to change. Today, we know that our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes. This concept of neuroplasticity has captured the imagination of a public eager for self-improvement-and has inspired countless Internet entrepreneurs who peddle dubious "brain training" games and apps. In this book, Moheb Costandi offers a concise and engaging overview of neuroplasticity for the general reader, describing how our brains change continuously in response to our actions and experiences. Costandi discusses key experimental findings, and describes how our thinking about the brain has evolved over time. He explains how the brain changes during development, and the "synaptic pruning" that takes place before brain maturity. He shows that adult brains can grow new cells (citing, among many other studies, research showing that sexually mature male canaries learn a new song every year). He describes the kind of brain training that can bring about improvement in brain function. It's not gadgets and games that promise to "rewire your brain" but such sustained cognitive tasks as learning a musical instrument or a new language. (Costandi also notes that London cabbies increase their gray matter after rigorous training in their city's complicated streets.) He tells how brains compensate after stroke or injury; describes addiction and pain as maladaptive forms of neuroplasticity; and considers brain changes that accompany childhood, adolescence, parenthood, and aging. Each of our brains is custom-built. Neuroplasticity is at the heart of what makes us human.
Whilst living amongst Peruvian Indians, anthropologist Jeremy Narby learned of their phenomenal knowledge of plants and biochemical interactions, gained under the influence of the hallucinogen ayahuasca. Despite his initial scepticism, Narby found himself engaged in an increasingly obsessive quest. He researched cutting-edge scholarship in subjects as diverse as molecular biology, shamanism, neurology and mythology, which led him inexorably to the conclusion that the Indians' claims were literally true: to a consciousness prepared with drugs, biochemical knowledge could indeed be transmitted, through DNA itself.
Traditionally, neuroscience has considered the nervous system as an isolated entity and largely ignored influences of the social environments in which humans and many animal species live. However, there is mounting evidence that the social environment affects behavior across species, from microbes to humans.
This volume brings together scholars who work with animal and human models of social behavior to discuss the challenges and opportunities in this interdisciplinary academic field.
The Princeton Guide to Evolution is a comprehensive, concise, and authoritative reference to the major subjects and key concepts in evolutionary biology, from genes to mass extinctions. Edited by a distinguished team of evolutionary biologists, with contributions from leading researchers, the guide contains some 100 clear, accurate, and up-to-date articles on the most important topics in seven major areas: phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society. Complete with more than 100 illustrations (including eight pages in color), glossaries of key terms, suggestions for further reading on each topic, and an index, this is an essential volume for undergraduate and graduate students, scientists in related fields, and anyone else with a serious interest in evolution. * Explains key topics in some 100 concise and authoritative articles written by a team of leading evolutionary biologists * Contains more than 100 illustrations, including eight pages in color * Each article includes an outline, glossary, bibliography, and cross-references * Covers phylogenetics and the history of life; selection and adaptation; evolutionary processes; genes, genomes, and phenotypes; speciation and macroevolution; evolution of behavior, society, and humans; and evolution and modern society
The bestselling introduction to bioinformatics and genomics now in its third edition Widely received in its previous editions, Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics offers the most broad-based introduction to this explosive new discipline. Now in a thoroughly updated and expanded third edition, it continues to be the go-to source for students and professionals involved in biomedical research. This book provides up-to-the-minute coverage of the fields of bioinformatics and genomics. Features new to this edition include: * Extensive revisions and a slight reorder of chapters for a more effective organization * A brand new chapter on next-generation sequencing * An expanded companion website, also updated as and when new information becomes available * Greater emphasis on a computational approach, with clear guidance of how software tools work and introductions to the use of command-line tools such as software for next-generation sequence analysis, the R programming language, and NCBI search utilities The book is complemented by lavish illustrations and more than 500 figures and tables - many newly-created for the third edition to enhance clarity and understanding. Each chapter includes learning objectives, a problem set, pitfalls section, boxes explaining key techniques and mathematics/statistics principles, a summary, recommended reading, and a list of freely available software. Readers may visit a related Web page for supplemental information such as PowerPoints and audiovisual files of lectures, and videocasts of how to perform many basic operations: www.wiley.com/go/pevsnerbioinformatics. Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics, Third Edition serves as an excellent single-source textbook for advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate-level courses in the biological sciences and computer sciences. It is also an indispensable resource for biologists in a broad variety of disciplines who use the tools of bioinformatics and genomics to study particular research problems; bioinformaticists and computer scientists who develop computer algorithms and databases; and medical researchers and clinicians who want to understand the genomic basis of viral, bacterial, parasitic, or other diseases.
In this rich, wide-ranging, beautifully illustrated volume, Egbert Leigh explores the results of billions of years of evolution at work. Leigh, who has spent five decades on Panama's Barro Colorado Island reflecting on the organization of various amazingly diverse tropical ecosystems, now shows how selection on "selfish genes" gives rise to complex modes of cooperation and interdependence. With the help of such artists as the celebrated nature photographer Christian Ziegler, natural history illustrator Deborah Miriam Kaspari, and Damond Kyllo, Leigh explains basic concepts of evolutionary biology, ranging from life's single-celled beginnings to the complex societies humans have formed today. The book covers a range of topics, including adaptation, competition, mutualism, heredity, natural selection, sexual selection, genetics, and language. Leigh's reflections on evolution, competition, and cooperation show how the natural world becomes even more beautiful when viewed in the light of evolution.
In this thought-provoking book, Denis Noble formulates the theory of biological relativity, emphasising that living organisms operate at multiple levels of complexity and must therefore be analysed from a multi-scale, relativistic perspective. Noble explains that all biological processes operate by means of molecular, cellular and organismal networks. The interactive nature of these fundamental processes is at the core of biological relativity and, as such, challenges simplified molecular reductionism. Noble shows that such an integrative view emerges as the necessary consequence of the rigorous application of mathematics to biology. Drawing on his pioneering work in the mathematical physics of biology, he shows that what emerges is a deeply humane picture of the role of the organism in constraining its chemistry, including its genes, to serve the organism as a whole, especially in the interaction with its social environment. This humanistic, holistic approach challenges the common gene-centred view held by many in modern biology and culture.
Recent advances suggest that the concept of information might hold the key to unravelling the mystery of life's nature and origin. Fresh insights from a broad and authoritative range of articulate and respected experts focus on the transition from matter to life, and hence reconcile the deep conceptual schism between the way we describe physical and biological systems. A unique cross-disciplinary perspective, drawing on expertise from philosophy, biology, chemistry, physics, and cognitive and social sciences, provides a new way to look at the deepest questions of our existence. This book addresses the role of information in life, and how it can make a difference to what we know about the world. Students, researchers, and all those interested in what life is and how it began will gain insights into the nature of life and its origins that touch on nearly every domain of science.
From the bestselling author of A More Beautiful Question, hundreds of big and small questions that harness the magic of inquiry to tackle challenges we all face--at work, in our relationships, and beyond.
When confronted with almost any demanding situation, the act of questioning can help guide us to smart decisions. By asking questions, we can analyze, learn, and move forward in the face of uncertainty. But "questionologist" Warren Berger says that the questions must be the right ones; the ones that cut to the heart of complexity or enable us to see an old problem in a fresh way.
In The Book of Beautiful Questions, Berger shares illuminating stories and compelling research on the power of inquiry. Drawn from the insights and expertise of psychologists, innovators, effective leaders, and some of the world's foremost creative thinkers, he presents the essential questions readers need to make the best choices when it truly counts, with a particular focus in four key areas: decision-making, creativity, leadership, and relationships.
The powerful questions in this book can help you:
- Identify opportunities in your career or industry
- Generate fresh ideas in business or in your own creative pursuits
- Check your biases so you can make better judgments and decisions
- Do a better job of communicating and connecting with the people around you
Thoughtful, provocative, and actionable, these beautiful questions can be applied immediately to bring about change in your work or your everyday life.
A renowned philosopher of the mind, also known for his groundbreaking work on Buddhism and cognitive science, Evan Thompson combines the latest neuroscience research on sleep, dreaming, and meditation with Indian and Western philosophy of mind, casting new light on the self and its relation to the brain. Thompson shows how the self is a changing process, not a static thing. When we are awake we identify with our body, but if we let our mind wander or daydream, we project a mentally imagined self into the remembered past or anticipated future. As we fall asleep, the impression of being a bounded self distinct from the world dissolves, but the self reappears in the dream state. If we have a lucid dream, we no longer identify only with the self within the dream. Our sense of self now includes our dreaming self, the "I" as dreamer. Finally, as we meditate-either in the waking state or in a lucid dream-we can observe whatever images or thoughts arise and how we tend to identify with them as "me." We can also experience sheer awareness itself, distinct from the changing contents that make up our image of the self. Contemplative traditions say that we can learn to let go of the self, so that when we die we can witness its dissolution with equanimity. Thompson weaves together neuroscience, philosophy, and personal narrative to depict these transformations, adding uncommon depth to life's profound questions. Contemplative experience comes to illuminate scientific findings, and scientific evidence enriches the vast knowledge acquired by contemplatives.
From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Man Who Couldn't Stop. 'Witty, sharp and enlightening . . . This book will make you smarter' Adam Rutherford. What if you have more intelligence than you realize? What if there is a genius inside you, just waiting to be released? And what if the route to better brain power is not hard work or thousands of hours of practice but to simply swallow a pill? In The Genius Within, bestselling author David Adam explores the ground-breaking neuroscience of cognitive enhancement that is changing the way the brain and the mind works - to make it better, sharper, more focused and, yes, more intelligent. Sharing his own experiments with revolutionary smart drugs and electrical brain stimulation, he delves into the sinister history of intelligence tests, meets savants and brain hackers and reveals how he boosted his own IQ to cheat his way into Mensa. Going to the heart of how we consider, measure and judge mental ability, The Genius Within asks difficult questions about the science that could rank and define us, and inevitably shape our future.
The Cerebellum: From Embryology to Diagnostic Investigations, Volume 154 is designed to update the reader on the latest and clinically relevant advances in the study of cerebellar diseases in children and adults. It is organized into sections detailing: (1) Embryology, Anatomy and Function, and (2) Diagnostic investigations: Neuroimaging, and includes content on conventional sequences, diffusion tensor imaging, functional MRI, and connectivity studies. Its companion volume, The Cerebellum: Disorders and Treatment, describes disorders (starting from the fetal cerebellum, to adult cerebellum) encountered during daily practice and therapy (including insights into innovative drug and rehabilitative approaches to treat children and adults with cerebellar disorders).
This concise introduction offers students and researchers an overview of the discipline that connects genetics and evolution. Addressing the theories behind population genetics and relevant empirical evidence, John Gillespie discusses genetic drift, natural selection, nonrandom mating, quantitative genetics, and the evolutionary advantage of sex. First published to wide acclaim in 1998, this brilliant primer has been updated to include new sections on molecular evolution, genetic drift, genetic load, the stationary distribution, and two-locus dynamics. This book is indispensable for students working in a laboratory setting or studying free-ranging populations.
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