The Beak Of The Finch: A Story Of Evolution In Our Time
ISBN: 067973337X
EAN13: 9780679733379
Language: English
Release Date: May 30, 1995
Pages: 332
Dimensions: 0.7" H x 7.9" L x 5.1" W
Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

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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 Gal pagos 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 Gal pagos 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 Gal pagos archipelago a paradise for evolutionary research: an isolated population of birds that cannot easily fly away and mate with other populations, islands Read More chevron_right

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Book Reviews (14)

5
  |   14  reviews
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4
   "Speciation Has never been observed..."
A great introduction to legendary fieldwork. It is not a critical analysis, but a hymn of sorts to some admirable scientists over a century and a half. But it sees a model for how science can and should work even in their flaws. By coincidence, I read this around the time I found myself in a conversation with a creationist who claimed that there had never been an observable case of speciation. While I did not engage because such conversations are usually non-starters, it was rather nice to have a fantastic real-world compendium of Darwin's evolving thought, as it reflects in field work. The book needs constant updating though. Many tantalizing hints are dropped that are not developed, but could be given the advances in published research.
 
4
   but I thought the narrative did not maintain as coherent a story line as in the best popular science writing
The story of the Grants'research on the Darwin - finches is fascinating, but I thought the narrative did not maintain as coherent a story line as in the best-known science writing. I thought the reflections on the larger issues at the end of the book were well done and included among the best sections.
 
5
   Captures the mindset of Darwin by placing him along contemporary biologists.
What a fantastic book! Weiner is an amazing writer and this book easily transitions from biography, to novel, to contemporary nonfiction, while capturing Darwin's mindset by placing him along historical biologists. I am not a biologist and have never had a formal introduction to evolution, but I feel that this book has certainly prepared me for this!
 
4
   late reading Beaks
After reading his review of Ignorance, I came to this book. A long tedious review of the masterful work of the grants over three decades. While a little long, the details prove the thesis. A reviewer complained about the anecdotes, but these make the story more readable for the lay reader. If one were a bio scientist, the separate pieces would suffice by the grants and their associates in science and nature. Normally, I rarely study, who received the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in a science related field, and the Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee deserves the award, unlike fiction, where some are debatable. recommend book to anyone interested in the last half decade of research in natural selection.
 
5
   deserved the Pulitzer Prize and a must read for those ...
Joseph Valparas deserved the Pulitzer Prize and is a must-read for those who plan on visiting the Galapogos Islands or want to understand the genetics of evolution.
 
5
   Great book
Very good book, especially if you are going to take AP biology andor a course on evolution and its processes.
 
5
   ... present so much convincing data on a subject so wonderfully complex in such beautiful prose
Few books contain so much beautiful data on a subject so wonderfully complex in such convincing prose.
 
5
   Absolutely a must read before you go to the Galopagos islands.
Just a really great book. It gives you a sense of the islands, the study of evolution and the history of science in the Galapagos. I wish there was an update to learn what has been going on in the last 17 years. Too well written .
 
5
   The Beak of the Finch
Writing and organization shows that evolution can occur in as short a time frame as two years. The good reader will find this book of our changing world a non-scientist read.
 
5
   Everyone likes this book
The title does not sound like a best-selling book, but everyone who has read this book enthusiastically praises it. I recommend it completely. PS The people I recommend are not specialists in evolution. However, they have all been strong in other sciences.
 
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