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

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Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution Read Online Free - A major new work 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 freaks? 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.

Title : Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0399184929
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 384 pages


Brian rated it ★★★★☆

August 05, 2017

There's always a danger when a science author puts themselves at the heart of their book that it can come across as 'Me, me, me!' - but Jonathan Losos has a very amiable personal style that gives the impression of having a chat with the author over a beer - and some of the best parts of the book...

Chantal rated it ★★★★★

June 13, 2017

"Improbable Destinies" is personable, easy to follow, and fascinating - well-worth a read by anyone with at least a passing interest in biology and evolution. From beginning to end, Losos works hard to make the studies and theories in the book as vivid as possible. We get to meet the people behind...

Carl rated it ★★★★★

January 15, 2018

I was asked to read this book, and provided this blurb: "Is evolution a story foretold? Or is it little more than the rolls of DNA's dice? In Improbable Destinies, Jonathan Losos tackles these fascinating questions not with empty philosophizing, but with juicy tales from the front lines of scient...

Susan rated it ★★★★★

August 21, 2017

Splendorous! (lifted straight for the book,)accessible, informative and entertaining. Losos explains the many paths of evolutionary biology. convergence or or contingency. Kangaroos which are essentially deer have evolved nowhere but Australia. then of course there is the most interesting animal...

Book rated it ★★★★☆

March 21, 2018

Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution by Jonathan B. Losos “Improbable Destinies” is an interesting exploration of evolutionary biology. Professor Jonathan B. Losos provides readers with a behind-the-scenes access to testing ideas about evolution, out in nature and in rea...

Atila rated it ★★★★★

March 04, 2018

Tinha um tempo que não lia um livro de evolução tão legal quanto este. O tema central do livro é convergência evolutiva: se a evolução acontecesse novamente, será que os seres vivos seriam como conhecemos? Losos trabalho com a evolução de lagartos Anolis na América Central e é impressionante como...

Tony rated it ★★★☆☆

January 03, 2018

IMPROBABLE DESTINIES: Fatge, Chance, and the Future of Evolution. (2017). Jonathan B. Losos. ***1/2. The author is a biology professor and director of the Losos Laboratory at Harvard University, and a curator of herpetology at the Harvard Museum. After spending the first part of the book relating...

Craig rated it ★★★★☆

March 08, 2018

Delightful, especially if you've been following the Stephen Jay Gould vs. Simon Conway Morris celebrity death match (okay, that's possibly an overstatement) since it started unfolding with the publication of Gould's Wonderful Life. If that doesn't mean anything to you, you may still like Improbab...

Vincent rated it ★★★★★

December 09, 2017

In 1989, the late Stephen Jay Gould published Wonderful Life, a book intended both for the general public and for professional scientists. In it, Gould presented his thesis that today's lifeforms are the result of a historical process founded on contingency, that is if we were to rewind the biolo...

Ryan rated it ★★☆☆☆

January 11, 2018

While the subject matter is intriguing - whether evolution is deterministic and can be predicted in terms of the forms it will take when organisms are put under the same conditions over time, it is such a complex topic involving countless factors that almost nothing conclusive can be gleaned even...

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