Continuing on the theme of Darwin's 200th birth anniversary and the 150th anniversary of The Origin of Species, we have some great forthcoming books on the topic.
1. Carl Zimmer's "The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution " (October 15) promises to be perhaps the most visually attractive introduction to evolution, lavishly studded with color photos and schematics. Zimmer has already written the excellent "Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea" which I will highly recommend.
2. Richard Dawkins's "The Greatest Show on Earth" (September 22) should divert some attention from his greater recent fame as an atheist. The whole atheism debate makes it easy to forget that Dawkins has been one of the best science writers of our time. His earlier books on evolution hardly need introduction and there is no doubt that his next book will also be filled with crystalline and poetic prose. Here's an excerpt that details the domestication of the dog from wolves and sheds some common misconceptions.
3. Among books already published, probably the single best book for understanding the core essentials of the topic is Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution Is True". The chapter on sexual selection is especially laudable. Also add Sean Carroll's "Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species"
I have some thoughts on what I saw as interesting analogies between descriptors used to gauge sexual selection and molecular descriptors for biological activity, but more on this later.
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