A remarkable journey: the story of evolution.

A remarkable journey: the story of evolution. R. Paul Thompson.

London: Reaktion Books, 2015. Octavo, dustwrapper, black and white photographs, illustrations, maps, diagrams.

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) appeared a little more than 150 years ago. Before the publication of Darwin's groundbreaking theory others had advocated evolutionary views, but his work, two decades in the making, was transformative. Nevertheless, this radical study was only the beginning of the development of evolutionary biology. The story of evolutionary theory is fascinating and conceptually rich. Its creation involved modification, clarification, experimentation and frustration, yet in the end a robust, vibrant and deeply descriptive theory emerged. The tortuous path from Darwin's original brilliant formulation to today's model is filled with intrigue and philosophical richness. In many respects, the story documents the maturing of biological science, a subject with evolutionary theory right at its centre. As evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky stated in 1973, 'nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.' The truth of this assertion is even more evident today than it was over 40 years ago. This book describes the development of evolutionary theory from Darwin to the present; it is a historical narrative of the conceptual and theoretical discoveries and debates, the experimentation and field work that became the evidential base on which the theory rests, the systematic assembling of these into an elegant and powerful science, and the elements that increasingly won over the biological and general scientific community. A Remarkable Journey will appeal to anyone who is interested in the history of science, as well as current theories on how our species came to be.

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