the evolutionary world how adaptation explains everything from seashells to civilization

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The Evolutionary World

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 1429925779
Genre : Science
File Size : 88. 74 MB
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"One of the master naturalists of our time" (American Scientist) reveals how evolutionary theory explains and affects not just the natural world but our society---and its future. Evolution has outgrown its original home in biology and geology. The Evolutionary World shows how evolution---descent with modification---is a concept that organizes, explains, and predicts a multitude of unconnected facts and phenomena. Adaptation plays a role not only in the development of new species but the development of human civilization. By understanding how evolutionary theory has played out in areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes, and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work but also what challenges lie ahead. Blind since the age of three, Dr. Geerat J. Vermeij has become renowned for his unique abilities to recognize details in the natural world that other scientists would never have noticed. In this book, he presents a new argument for evolution's broader importance. He explores similarities between genomes and languages, the contrasting natural economies of islands and continents, the emergence and importance of human values, the long-range consequences of global warming, and the perils of monopoly. He also shows that the lessons of evolution have implications for education, our system of laws, and economic growth. The Evolutionary World makes a fascinating argument about the broad-reaching impact and importance of evolution. It offers a way for us to understand and work with evolution's principles so that we can devise better solutions for our own lives, society, and the environment around us.

The Measure Of Civilization

Author : Ian Morris
ISBN : 9781400844760
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 54. 8 MB
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In the last thirty years, there have been fierce debates over how civilizations develop and why the West became so powerful. The Measure of Civilization presents a brand-new way of investigating these questions and provides new tools for assessing the long-term growth of societies. Using a groundbreaking numerical index of social development that compares societies in different times and places, award-winning author Ian Morris sets forth a sweeping examination of Eastern and Western development across 15,000 years since the end of the last ice age. He offers surprising conclusions about when and why the West came to dominate the world and fresh perspectives for thinking about the twenty-first century. Adapting the United Nations' approach for measuring human development, Morris's index breaks social development into four traits--energy capture per capita, organization, information technology, and war-making capacity--and he uses archaeological, historical, and current government data to quantify patterns. Morris reveals that for 90 percent of the time since the last ice age, the world's most advanced region has been at the western end of Eurasia, but contrary to what many historians once believed, there were roughly 1,200 years--from about 550 to 1750 CE--when an East Asian region was more advanced. Only in the late eighteenth century CE, when northwest Europeans tapped into the energy trapped in fossil fuels, did the West leap ahead. Resolving some of the biggest debates in global history, The Measure of Civilization puts forth innovative tools for determining past, present, and future economic and social trends.

Citizens Of The World

Author : Samara Anne Cahill
ISBN : 9781611486858
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 77. 95 MB
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Nine authors from prominent universities around the world show how the adventurous thinkers, artists, and adventurers of the eighteenth-century period placed adaptation at the center of the quest for a modern civilization. The book will appeal to cultural historians, historians of science, and those interested in literary metamorphoses.

A Natural History Of Shells

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 0691001677
Genre : Nature
File Size : 42. 72 MB
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Geerat Vermeij wrote this "celebration of shells" to share his enthusiasm for these supremely elegant creations and what they can teach us about nature. Most other popular books on shells emphasize the identification of species, but Vermeij uses shells as a way to explore major ideas in biology. How are shells built? How do they work? How did they evolve? With these questions in mind, the author lucidly - and charmingly - demonstrates how shells give us insights into the lives of animals in our own day as well as in the distant geological past. As snails, clams, and other molluscs enlarge their shells, they inscribe a detailed record of the everyday events and unusual circumstances that mark their lives. Moreover, the fossil record that chronicles the history of life is replete with shells of extinct species. Vermeij draws on comparisons of shells from different parts of the world and from successive geological periods to argue that predators have played a decisive role in the evolution of shells. Architectural specialization, he argues, is dictated by the risks, rewards, costs, and benefits imposed by predators and competitors on shell-builders living in a dangerous world. This book will be of interest both to amateur shell collectors and to scholars, and its lively review of evolutionary history should prove especially appealing to a general audience.

Biogeography And Adaptation

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 0674073762
Genre : Science
File Size : 20. 16 MB
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The driving forces of natural selection leave their traces in the shapes of living creatures and their patterns of distribution. In this thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion of evolutionary process and adaptive response, Geerat Vermeij elucidates the general principles that underlie the great diversity of marine forms found in the world's great oceans.

Privileged Hands

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 9780716729549
Genre : Biologists
File Size : 67. 7 MB
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Explores the life and accomplishments of the Dutch-born biologist who has been blind since the age of three, tracing his education in segregated schools for the blind, to Princeton and Yale, and on to international fieldwork studying snails, clams, and ot

The Evolution Of Civilizations An Introduction To Historical Analysis

Author : Carroll Quigley
ISBN : 4871873498
Genre : History
File Size : 61. 27 MB
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Carroll Quigley was a legendary teacher at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. His course on the history of civilization was extra-ordinary in its scope and on its impact on its students. Like the course, the Evolution of Civilizations is a comprehensive and perspective look at the factors behind the rise and fall of civilizations. Quigley examines the application scientific method to the social sciences. He poses a division of culture into six levels, from the more abstract to the more concrete - intellectual, religious, social, political, economic and military. - and he identifies seven stages of historical change for all civilizations: mixture, gestation, expansion, conflict, universal empire, decay and invasion. He tests these hypothesis by a detailed analysis of five major civilizations: the Mesopotamian, the Canaanite, the Minoan, the classical, and the Western. Quigley defines a civilization as "a producing society with an instrument of expansion." A civilization's decline is not inevitable but occurs when its instrument of expansion is transformed into an institution--that is, when social arrangements that meet real social needs are transformed into social institutions serving their own purposes regardless of real social needs.

Nature

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 1400826497
Genre : Science
File Size : 90. 35 MB
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From humans to hermit crabs to deep water plankton, all living things compete for locally limiting resources. This universal truth unites three bodies of thought--economics, evolution, and history--that have developed largely in mutual isolation. Here, Geerat Vermeij undertakes a groundbreaking and provocative exploration of the facts and theories of biology, economics, and geology to show how processes common to all economic systems--competition, cooperation, adaptation, and feedback--govern evolution as surely as they do the human economy, and how historical patterns in both human and nonhuman evolution follow from this principle. Using a wealth of examples of evolutionary innovations, Vermeij argues that evolution and economics are one. Powerful consumers and producers exercise disproportionate controls on the characteristics, activities, and distribution of all life forms. Competition-driven demand by consumers, when coupled with supply-side conditions permitting economic growth, leads to adaptation and escalation among organisms. Although disruptions in production halt or reverse these processes temporarily, they amplify escalation in the long run to produce trends in all economic systems toward greater power, higher production rates, and a wider reach for economic systems and their strongest members. Despite our unprecedented power to shape our surroundings, we humans are subject to all the economic principles and historical trends that emerged at life's origin more than 3 billion years ago. Engagingly written, brilliantly argued, and sweeping in scope, Nature: An Economic History shows that the human institutions most likely to preserve opportunity and adaptability are, after all, built like successful living things.

Evolution And Escalation

Author : Geerat J. Vermeij
ISBN : 0691000808
Genre : Science
File Size : 76. 65 MB
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Here is one biologist's interpretation of the chronology of life during the last six hundred million years of earth history: an extended essay that draws on the author's own data and a wide-ranging literature survey to discuss the nature and dynamics of evolutionary change in organisms and their biological surroundings. Geerat Vermeij demonstrates that escalation--the process by which species adapt to, or are limited by, their enemies as the latter increase in ability to acquire and retain resources--has been a dominant theme in the history of life despite frequent episodes of extinction.

The Symbolic Species The Co Evolution Of Language And The Brain

Author : Terrence W. Deacon
ISBN : 9780393343021
Genre : Science
File Size : 48. 91 MB
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"A work of enormous breadth, likely to pleasantly surprise both general readers and experts."—New York Times Book Review This revolutionary book provides fresh answers to long-standing questions of human origins and consciousness. Drawing on his breakthrough research in comparative neuroscience, Terrence Deacon offers a wealth of insights into the significance of symbolic thinking: from the co-evolutionary exchange between language and brains over two million years of hominid evolution to the ethical repercussions that followed man's newfound access to other people's thoughts and emotions. Informing these insights is a new understanding of how Darwinian processes underlie the brain's development and function as well as its evolution. In contrast to much contemporary neuroscience that treats the brain as no more or less than a computer, Deacon provides a new clarity of vision into the mechanism of mind. It injects a renewed sense of adventure into the experience of being human.

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