The Beak of the Finch

The Beak of the Finch

A Story of Evolution in Our Time

Book - 1994
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Baker & Taylor
A portrait of scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant describes their work recording evolution as it occurs among the species of Gala+a7pagos finches first described by Darwin. 40,000 first printing. BOMC, History, & Natural Sciences Alt. Tour.

Blackwell North Amer
The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two Princeton University scientists - evolutionary biologists - engaged in an extraordinary investigation. They are watching, and recording, evolution as it is occurring - now - among the very species of Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's early musings on the origin of species. They are studying the evolutionary process not through the cryptic medium of fossils but in real time, in the wild, in the flesh.
The finches that Darwin took from Galapagos at the time of his voyage on the Beagle led to his first veiled hints about his revolutionary theory. But Darwin himself never saw evolution as Peter and Rosemary Grant have been seeing it - in the act of happening. For more than twenty years they have been monitoring generation after generation of finches on the island of Daphne Major - measuring, weighing, observing, tracking, analyzing on computers their struggle for existence.
We see the Grants at work on the island among the thousands of living, nesting, hatching, growing birds whose world and lives are the Grants' primary laboratory. We explore the special circumstances that make the Galapagos archipelago a paradise for evolutionary research: an isolated population of birds that cannot easily fly away and mate with other populations, islands that are the tips of young volcanoes and thus still rapidly evolving as does the life that they support, a food supply changing radically in response to radical variations of climate - so that in a brief span of time the Grants can see the beak of the finch adapt. And we watch the Grants' team observe evolution at a level that was totally inaccessible to Darwin: the molecular level, as the DNA in the blood samples taken from the birds reveals evolutionary change.
Here, brilliantly and lucidly recounted - with important implications for our own day, when man's alterations of the environment are speeding the rate of evolutionary changes - is a scientific enterprise in the grand manner, an abstraction made concrete, a theory validated in life.

& Taylor

A portrait of scientists Peter and Rosemary Grant describes their work recording evolution as it occurs among the species of Galapagos finches first described by Darwin

Publisher: New York : Knopf : Distributed by Random House, 1994
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780679400035
Branch Call Number: 598.8 W431b
Characteristics: x, 332 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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SPPL_János Mar 19, 2018

Scientist couple Peter and Rosemary Grant have observed finches in the Galápagos Islands every summer for 20 years and seen natural selection taking place before their eyes. Journalist Weiner distills the concepts of natural selection and evolution from this and other scientific studies in a way that is clear, accessible, and gripping.

Dec 09, 2016

Terrific explanations, fascinating stories, but a little too long, and the author attributes too much power to computers (which are just machines that we program after all).

Aug 31, 2015

from goodreads: . . .
“Winner of the Pulitzer Prize
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

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 in the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould.” . . . . . . .
and . . .
“An astonishingly large proportion of the population in Western countries believes in creationism, if recent polls are anything to go by, and that disbelief of evolution is common even among university students in medicine and natural sciences. Jonathan Weiner has written a book for just such people, a tour de force on evolution in action, presented in a clear, concise style in which facts and explanations mingle with interviews and commentary. . . .
Darwin spelt out evolution by natural selection in great detail. Yet many people still do not understand the argument, perhaps because it is very simple. In essence, the theory states that individuals vary in phenotype (the physical side of an organism, determined by interaction between its genetic make-up and its environment); that certain phenotypes enjoy an advantage during selection; and ...”
from: . . .

Subhajitsaha95 Jul 02, 2012

This book is really good for people interested with birds and their evolution! This book talks about Darwin's Finches in the Galapagos Islands in South America.

Dec 05, 2007

Winner 1995 Pulitzer prize.


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