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What Evolution Is

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,757 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Published December 5th 2002 by Phoenix (first published January 28th 1964)
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Asma Ahmad the evolution is the processby which different kinds of living organism arebelived to havedeveloped from earlier forms, especially by natural…morethe evolution is the processby which different kinds of living organism arebelived to havedeveloped from earlier forms, especially by natural selection or gradual development or in chemistry is the giving off of gaseous product or of heat(less)
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"WHAT EVOLUTION IS", a classic book on this topic, opens with an interesting foreword by Jared Diamond (author of Guns, Germs and Steel and The third Chimpanzee among other books), approaching the importance of how and why evolution needs to be understood not only by the scientific community but also by the general public. I have to say that now I understand the great influence Ernst Mayr I have read on Diamond's publications, specially the role that geography plays on speciation.

In my opinion,
Riku Sayuj

I am guessing most of the science text-books borrowed from this masterpiece to convey these ideas effectively. But that also means that when someone goes back and reads the original it sounds too text-book-ey, in presentation and content. Not many ideas here which you wouldn't have been exposed to, but still a valuable book to turn to if you are coming to the field for the first time, or after a long break.

I am giving it 3 stars only because I didn't get much out of it and had to skim through i
Franziska Self fisken
This is a wonderfully easy-to-read book that explains evolution in good accessible English and contrasts the theory of evolution with other theories and philosophies such as creationism. My daughter had borrowed it as background reading for her Biology undergraduate course but I felt that it was geared to intelligent laymen too. Due to hectic time pressures, I only had a few hours. However, I managed to skim through the book in only a couple of hours, as it was laid out in such a manner one coul ...more
Charles Eliot
I've been reading Stephen Jay Gould's final book, "The Structure of Evolutionary Theory". For all the book's impressive bulk, the central argument is straightforward.

The modern interpretation of Darwin's theory (steady, continuous, and incremental evolution filtered by the agent of natural selection) has vanquished the theories that came before it (saltation, orthogenesis, Lamarkism, etc) but some key questions linger. For example, fossils often show species staying unchanged, in evolutionary st
Geoffrey Benn
“What Evolution Is,” by renowned evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, is a non-mathematical overview of modern evolutionary thought. The book starts with a brief rebuttal of creationist arguments, then turns to mechanisms of evolution and speciation, and finally to human evolution. I found it to be a written at a somewhat odd level – I think that it is ideally suited for well-educated, highly motivated readers who are seriously delving into evolution for the first time, or for readers who have had ...more
Dec 28, 2009 Adam rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adam by: Alex Hiatt
Mayr presents here a thorough overview of the current state of evolutionary science. By comparing them to the basic principles (which he states very clearly) of evolution and the processes through which it occurs, he refutes misconceptions, and thus develops for the reader a clear understanding of what evolution is NOT.

The book begins, then, with an overview of the history of evolutionary science, examining carefully how each of the historical debates regarding evolution were resolved in favor
Steven Peterson
Ernst Mayr is one of the key figures in the development of the synthetic theory of evolution, by which Mendelian genetics was wed to Darwinian natural selection. The end result is a powerful paradigm that does well in explaining change in living forms. Especially extraordinary in the case of this book is that he was nearing 100 years of age when he wrote it. And it is a literate, accessible description of evolution that non-biologists can easily understand.

My interest in Mayr goes back to gradu
Ernst Mayr is a reknown evolutionary biologist who has been writing since(at least) the late fifties. That being said, for anyone interested in this book, it must be remembered that he is not a novelist. Mayr's writing style is that of a scientist, which while thorough and although he claims this book is for the 'non-specialist', and as such the book is difficult to read unless you have at least some background in biology.

What makes this particular book special is two-fold: 1st, it is written by
Having watched a number of National Geographic Wild shows, I was suddenly intrigued how certain animals have this inherent trait(s) that enable them to adapt with their environment. I know little of evolution, so I figured its time to broaden my knowledge about the most controversial science topic. I needed a book about evolution written specifically for nonscientist individuals like myself.

What Evolution Is is that scientific book. It's written in an accesible language that it's easy to underst
Shahine Ardeshir
Before I begin to gush about how much I enjoyed this book (and I did!), I should start with one caveat: This is not a book for casual reading. So if you're someone who's somewhat curious about evolution, I'd suggest starting with something a little lighter (Your Body: The Fish that Evolved, for instance). If, on the other hand, you're hooked on evolution and want to go into more depth, this is the book for you.

Enrst Mayr has done a fabulous job of synthesizing decades of research and debate into
As one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, Ernst Mayr's work was integral in the modern evolutionary synthesis between natural selection and genetics. Before he passed away in 2005, he created what is essentially a guidebook to life - where it may have begun, how it changes over time, and the processes by which that change is effected. It is intended for the educated layperson and admirably walks the line between simplified and technical. No one would mistake Mayr for a n ...more
Perfect. Here at last is a great book explaining the essential facts about evolutionary biology to everyone -novices and afficionados alike. There's a lot of introductory books on the topic, but this one stands out for at least two reasons.

First, Ernst Mayr is not taking side when dealing with arguable issues. Well, he certainly has his convictions (pro-gradualism, anti-selfish gene hypothesis...) but, he is very honest and fairplay with views opoosite to his own. We can't say the same about eve
this is grate help to education ,thank you
Debrah A
Written by a highly notable figure, the book is an authoritative tome of information of what evolution is, and more importantly, what it isn't. But I must say that it would have been a good read at the time it appeared. Matter is much better organized in today's popular science books and the flow is good enough to keep most people going.

If you want an intro to Evolution, there are many more books available today than was at the time this came out. If you want a text with historical significance,
Sep 05, 2011 David marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Well, it was certainly an introduction to evolution, but unless you have a solid science (biology) background, or love using a dictionary/Wikipedia, I wouldn't bother starting it just yet. It really does seem to be written for some one that is more than passively familiar with biological terms and processes. If you want an introduction for the layperson, try something else. If you are currently taking or remember your biology courses, give it a go.
This is a great book, even if you are religious or not, this book will certainly answer any queries you have on evolution.
why i chose to read this- my father recommended this book to me because of my fascination with natural history and biology.
who would i recomend this to- anyone who is wondering how evolution works.
i loved this book it is probably the best book i have read since the origin of species.
It's not that it's not informative, but it's rather too technical to be an introductory book, which, with a title like that is what you expect it to be. You actually do have to already have a background in biology (or biological anthropology) to really understand what he's talking about, which makes it exactly the wrong book to give to a layperson.
Evolution is fact not theory and Mayr supports this statement with facts. I'm not a scientist and I found some of the scientific language overwhelming but I made myself get through it and was surprised at how much I do understand. He filled in a lot of gaps for me especially about the evolution of species. I'm glad I read it.
You can see that he was an old man when he wrote this book, because he keeps repeating some pieces of information, but it's absolutely splendid! If you're interested in evolution, this is your book. Even is you already know everything about evolution, you're still going to enjoy this book.
Ernst Mayr es posiblemente el biólogo evolutivo más importante desde Darwin. Este es un libro tan básico para comprender la evolución como "El origen de las especies", y un buen punto de partida para no tener que empezar en 1859 y, sobre todo, no quedarse allí.
Aug 16, 2007 J rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: science
As someone about to dive into a biology degree, this book provide an excellent broad discussion of the many aspects and topics which make up evolution. It lies somewhere between the average popular science book on evolution and an undergraduate textbook.
Jody Fanning
Not an introductory book and a bit disjointed, but it covers pretty much everything you would need to know and more. That is probably the only problem, sorting out the essential details from all the other information may be a bit difficult.
tema evolusi adalah tema yang menjadi akar dalam biologi. buku ini berhasil membuat sedikit rangkuman tentang evolusi sebagai point of view namun buku yang tidak dimaksudkan untuk menjawab banyak keraguan tentang evolusi.
Jul 29, 2007 Aga rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anybody wanting a really great overview of evolution
I read this book knowing alot of the material in it already, but also learned a few things that I didn't know. It was very well written and anybody who is interested in learning a little bit more about evolution should read it.
Nick Black
Borders, recommendation by a friendly Morehouse history professor, 2008-05-13. An absolutely phenomenal introduction to a science I'm really, embarrassingly enough, just now coming to know.
This was a well written explanation of evolution. The explanation covers from the beginning to the appearance of modern humans. A great choice for teaching evolutionary theory.
I was surprisingly disappointed. I thought that this book would be fascinating and full of interesting ideas, but it was all information that I had learned in college years ago.
Taught me the majority of what I know and understand about Evolution--no thanks to a shoddy and wanting science and bio education of my youth. Thank Darwin!
Amos Tai
If you can get through the less well organized first few chapters, the book starting from the "Natural Selection" chapter is an enjoyable and informative read.
Chad Oldham
My favorite book on evolution. Lays out all the major evidence. It's scary to think that people out there still don't "believe" in evolution.
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  • Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
  • Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea
  • The Structure of Evolutionary Theory
  • Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction
  • Evolution: The First Four Billion Years
  • Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul
  • Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design
  • The Counter-Creationism Handbook
  • Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated
  • The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth
  • Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
  • The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma
  • Evolution: The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory (Chronicles)
  • Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design
  • Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness
  • Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution (Science Masters)
Ernst Walter Mayr (July 5, 1904 – February 3, 2005) was one of the 20th century's leading evolutionary biologists. He was also a renowned taxonomist, tropical explorer, ornithologist, and historian of science. His work contributed to the conceptual revolution that led to the modern evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics, systematics, and Darwinian evolution, and to the development of the bio ...more
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