Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and by Niles Eldredge

Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through…

byNiles Eldredge

Paperback | November 22, 2016

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All organisms and species are transitory, yet life endures. The origin, extinction, and evolution of species-interconnected in the web of life as "eternal ephemera"-are the concern of evolutionary biology. In this riveting work, renowned paleontologist Niles Eldredge follows leading thinkers as they have wrestled for more than two hundred years with the eternal skein of life composed of ephemeral beings, revitalizing evolutionary science with their own, more resilient findings.

Eldredge begins in France with the naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who in 1801 first framed the overarching question about the emergence of new species. The Italian geologist Giambattista Brocchi followed, bringing in geology and paleontology to expand the question. In 1825, at the University of Edinburgh, Robert Grant and Robert Jameson introduced the astounding ideas formulated by Lamarck and Brocchi to a young medical student named Charles Darwin. Who can doubt that Darwin left for his voyage on the Beagle in 1831 filled with thoughts about these daring new explanations for the "transmutation" of species.

Eldredge revisits Darwin's early insights into evolution in South America and his later synthesis of knowledge into a theory of the origin of species. He then considers the ideas of more recent evolutionary thinkers, such as George Gaylord Simpson, Ernst Mayr, and Theodosius Dobzhansky, as well as the young and brash Niles Eldredge and Steven Jay Gould, who set science afire with their concept of punctuated equilibria. Filled with insights into evolutionary biology and told with a rich affection for the scientific arena, this book celebrates the organic, vital relationship between scientific thinking and its subjects.

About The Author

Niles Eldredge is a paleontologist formerly on the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History. He developed the theory of punctuated equilibria with Stephen Jay Gould, and his book The Pattern of Evolution offers a comprehensive theory of how environmental change governs the evolutionary process. He is also the author ...

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Title:Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through…Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 9 × 6 × 0 inPublished:November 22, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231153171

ISBN - 13:9780231153171

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Approaching Adaptation and the Origin of SpeciesPart I. Birth of Modern Evolutionary Theory1. The Advent of the Modern Fauna: On the Births and Deaths of Species, 1801-18312. Darwin and the Beagle: Experimenting with Transmutation, 1831-18363. Enter Adaptation and the Conflict Between Isolation and Gradual Adaptive Change, 1836-1859Part II. Rebellion and Reinvention: The Taxic Perspective, 1935-4. Species and Speciation Reconsidered, 1935-5. Punctuated Equilibria: Speciation and Stasis in Paleontology, 1968-6. Speciation and Adaptation: Large-Scale Patterns in the Evolution of Life, 1972-NotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Fascinating and well-written.