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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the…
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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution (edició 2017)

de Jonathan B. Losos (Autor)

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1043201,375 (4.05)4
A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works   Earth's natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change--a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze--caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets?   Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be.    Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.… (més)
Membre:PSHSLibrary
Títol:Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
Autors:Jonathan B. Losos (Autor)
Informació:Riverhead Books (2017), Edition: First Edition, 384 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
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Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution de Jonathan B. Losos

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Professor Losos has written an excellent book about convergent and divergent evolution. He summarized his own and others work in the area of the effects of environmental conditions including predation on genetic and evolutionary changes. His work on lizards shows that evolutionary changes can be predictable. The work of many others confirm this but there is also evidence of random changes that are not predictable. Jonathan speculates on other possible evolutionary paths that life could have taken and on possible forms of life on other planets. I found the book interesting and educational. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in evolution. ( )
  GlennBell | Dec 8, 2020 |
The book attempts to answer the question of whether, given that there are so many cases of convergent evolution, the evolution of certain features is inevitable in certain environments.

The answer seems to be yes, no, maybe, sometimes.

For the most part I managed to follow the examples and arguments presented, which made me feel clever, but I don't have the background knowledge to be able to tell whether the author is pulling the wool over my eyes with cherry-picked examples and omission of details which would be obvious to a better informed reader. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 8, 2020 |
In Improbable Destinies Jonathan B. Losos explains in very clear terms and with wonderful examples the strengths and weaknesses of both convergent and contingent approaches to evolution. To be more specific, he explains why neither serves as a singular explanation.

Either idea, taken as THE driving idea behind the results of evolution, has too many holes. One idea a researcher I know thinks is that (forgive my explanation, I am not an expert in the field) contingency rules the day early in a given evolutionary chain while convergence rules after a certain point. She does not mean evolution of the planet and all on it but rather each separate chain, so something new today would be influenced primarily by contingency until some point at which it would primarily be influenced by convergence. This book supports, or at least doesn't disprove, this hypothesis.

This book is easily accessible to the lay reader without becoming either too simplistic or void of science. I would recommend this to anyone interested in evolutionary science but who might not want to get bogged down in minutiae. There are plenty of texts, both academic and popular, that go into the nuts and bolts of evolution and natural selection. This one looks at larger concepts and the results of many generations of evolution.

Reviewed from a copy made available through Goodreads First Reads. ( )
  pomo58 | Nov 5, 2017 |
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A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works   Earth's natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change--a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze--caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets?   Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be.    Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos's insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

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