Electronic book text
July 11, 2021
9781421441665
9781421441658
English
320
22 b&w photos, 7 b&w illus.
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6.00 Inches (US)
$59.95 USD, £44.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Hardback
July 13, 2021
9781421441658
English
328
22 b&w photos, 7 b&w illus.
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$59.95 USD, £44.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Observing Evolution

Peppered Moths and the Discovery of Parallel Melanism

The extraordinary tale of the humble peppered moth is at the very foundation of our acceptance of Darwinian evolution. When scientists in the early twentieth century discovered that a British population of the small Biston betularia had rapidly changed in its appearance as a result of the industrial revolution—becoming black in response to its newly sooty environment over the course of mere decades—the revelation cemented Darwin's theory of natural selection. This story was the staple example of "natural selection in action" until the turn of the millennium, when proponents of Creationism fomented doubts about the experimental methods employed.

In the midst of this upheaval, scientist Bruce S. Grant was busy collaborating with respected contemporaries to build a dataset that would ultimately vindicate the theory of industrial melanism in the peppered moth and, by extension, the theory of natural selection itself. Observing Evolution tells the remarkable story of his work. Focusing on the little-known but enormously important research of biologists who tested the theory of natural selection after Darwin, Grant describes the historical foundations of research on the peppered moth, then explains how he and his collaborators were able to push this famous study forward. He details how his experiments were designed and conducted, painting a picture of the personalities, events, and adventures around the world that shaped his successes—and struggles. The story culminates with his discovery that peppered moth populations separated by the Atlantic mirrored each other strikingly in terms of the "rise and fall" of melanism, settling a major scientific controversy by documenting nature's repeat experiment.

Observing Evolution is a crash course in natural selection and the history of evolutionary biology for anyone interested in Darwin's legacy. It's also a fascinating read for scientists interested in the bridge between the first efforts to count moths and the sophisticated DNA sequencing and statistical modeling that continue to reveal how these tiny organisms can carry such enormous implications.

About the Author

Bruce S. Grant (CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA) is Emeritus Professor of biology at the College of William & Mary.

Reviews

"Grant is a renowned scholar who greatly pushed evolutionary biology research forward. There is no one else alive who could have written this book."—Mohamed A. F. Noor, Duke University

"Bruce Grant is a marvelous writer: conversational, human, humorous, and engaging. This book will inform and entertain a diverse audience and, in the process, educate them about the joys and rewards of doing and living science. An adventure story that brings the reader along for the ride and introduces them to some of the most distinguished biologists of modern times, this book is also a mystery that scientifically probes and tests every bit of evidence that is available."—Justin O. Schmidt, Southwest Biological Institute, author of The Sting of the Wild

9781421441658 : observing-evolution-grant
Hardback
July 13, 2021
$59.95 USD
9781421441665 : observing-evolution-grant
Electronic book text
July 11, 2021
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