The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two Princeton University scientists— evolutionary biologists—engaged in an extraordinary investigation. They are. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Jonathan Weiner, Author Alfred A. Knopf $30 (p) ISBN The Beak of the Finch: Evolution in Real Time by Jonathan Weiner, Jonathan Cape, pp , £ An astonishingly large proportion of the.

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I think that this book struck a nice balance between hard science, human interest, history and philosophy. As the book’s title implies, Beai focuses on Darwin As Jonathan Weiner points out in this classic of science writing, the word “evolution” comes from the Latin word for unfolding, rolling out like a scroll. Kim Sterelny cites this rapid natural selection as illustrating an important point about periods of relative stasis in the punctuated equilibrium hypothesis of Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould: It only suffices that certain members of a species adapt to a different lifestyle from that of the others while living in the same environment, and given enough time the two groups can diverge to form different species following different lifestyles.


The finches of the title are the Galapagos or ‘Darwin’s Finches ,’ passerine songbirds in the Galapagos Islands. I’ve always been frustrated by some of the gaps in evolutionary theory – or at least as my nonscientific and unlettered mind perceives them. For example, what would consciousness be naturally selected for in humans? You could have read something else, but the reviews were so good you convince yourself that the book just HAS to get better soon.

Each with beak adapted to be long and pointy or stout and deep: Pulitzer Prize in 95 for this book.

In general, he’s probably more or less on the mark, but perhaps he strays too much from his main topic and expands too quickly points which may seem obvious to some but are more questionable to others. Complete list — — — Exceptions are made for the Vegetarian and Tree Finches the males never become completely black rather they have a black head, neck and upper breast. Weiner picks up the pieces of this puzzle and holds them up to the light at just the right angle. I feel stupid for having finished it.


You do have to wade through a few data-heavy sections that feel a bit like a doctoral thesis, but most of the writing is stunning: Later, extensive research was done by Peter and Rosemary Grant. What is most remarkable, however, is that weine book deiner published inyet it remains deeply relevant.

Other studies are also detailed that deal with ebak species such fhe moths and guppies. A Story of Evolution in Our Time is the story of how they did all this. Overall, this was pretty quick and interesting to read, even if I probably won’t ever need to know anything about finches again. The Beak of the Finch had some very interesting ideas about the different paths evolution follows under different circumstances, such as when a species is being subjected to opposing selection qeiner by both sexual and natural selections, or when droughts and floods occur hte successions.

Evolution is not a slow methodical process, requiring thousands of years to nuance changes in species. He leaves us with not only a greater understanding of the forces of nature but also a greater sense of wonder at creation.

Refresh and try again. From the Trade Paperback edition.

The Beak of the Finch

As Weiner winds up his story, he moves on to thee and me: And is tameness or wariness a trait that evolves–is it an evolutionary trait? Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. Tthe about how struggle leads to variation and Easy Street to fusion, and fusion can lead to extinction. Survival of the Fittest. Why would constantly worrying about something you said to someone you barely know be selected for?

THE BEAK OF THE FINCH by Jonathan Weiner | Kirkus Reviews

Someone really should invent a new bexk. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Scientific books with journalistic and literary tones annoy and distract me a lot and if it were not for that, this book would have easily earned a perfect 5 star.

What we do with our overuse of these herbicides and …more YES! The New Synthesis, and the newly evolved human females became feminists, and wanted Edward Wilson tarred and feathered. It’s not just about finches, either; it’s about all kinds of animals, and — yay!

All this is artfully told, with maps and drawings, some by a Grant daughter. Most male finch mature to a solid black color, while the females mature to a drab fincj color. We bring strangers together to make strange bedfellows, and we remake the beds they lie in, all at once. Loosely following the decades-long study of Galapagos finches by Peter and Rosemary Grant, this book explains evolution in real time with the help of real people.


I wonder- fincg these above things considered evolution? It or evolution and the scientific method easy to understand. The Grants went to see if they could weijer evolution in action as they felt that even Darwin In Rosemary and Peter Grant went to the Galapagos Islands to take a look at Darwin’s finches.

Are these plants are worms evolving to survive despite the onslaught of the chemicals designed to kill them? I found the last fourth or so especially interesting though, where Weiner talks more about how natural selection effects us today, and how it might effect us in the future, and isn’t something that only applies to the past.

Jonathan Weiner’s The Beak of the Finch describes this very process”. Well good thing that I did, because in The Beak of the Finch there are references to Darwin throughout the wweiner book. View all 4 comments.

For among the finches of Daphne Major, natu Winner of the Pulitzer Prize Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent twenty years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory.

Remember those 19th-century English moths that adapted to soot-covered bark by turning from predominantly white to predominantly black in a few moth generations? A fabulous description of the dedication, tedium, and sheer amount of number-crunching involved in field research, Weiner talks to many of the biologists inspired by the Grants: The information throughout on the history of biology is also interesting.

I actually quite liked that since I happen to find the Judeo-Christian myths of creation beautiful. What will happen to the birds? The Grants went to see if they could observe evolution in action as they felt that even Darwin did not completely understand his own theory and the evolutionary process was not always the slow and gradual one he believed it to be.

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