The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History (Reflections in Natural History #2)
In THE PANDA'S THUMB, Gould delights and instructs while deepening and extending his examination of evolution, a centerpiece of modern science. Were dinosaurs really dumber than liz...more
Subtitle: More Reflections in Natural History
Here's a bedside book that will repay you with intelligent and, above all, hopeful dreams, for I've failed to mention that Gould is an exemplary intellectual. He is generous even to those he most vehemently opposes for racism, sexism, class bias or other charlatanry. He assures us that "survival of the fittest" does not mean a declaration of Hobbes' "War of all against all," and reminds us that "fitne...more
Read the rest of my review at [http://www.sabrinaspiher.com/forums/v....more
His essay on Darwin vs. Wallace is one of my favorites in this book.
Wallace who had independently reached the theory of evolution before Darwin published his Origin of Species, and whose letter to Darwin caused a slimmer book to be published than what Darwin originally had in mind in order to establish Darwin's priority, eventually balks at the...more
from Haekel’s insistence on evolutiona...more
When he talks about Dawkins and the Selfish gene, he is simply wrong, partly I think because he didn't quite understand it, and partly because the idea of selection being on the level of the gene rather than the individual or group offended his sensibilities
Later, when he wrote about birds and dinosaurs, he seemed not to fully grasp the full implications of placing the birds in the dinosaur group
Thirdly his refutation of gradualism was not just that...more
There's not really much you can say about his work - it's e...more
Some of these pieces are a bit dated (not so surprising in a book published in 1980); his rather daring efforts to finger Teilhard de Chardin as a participant in the Piltdown Man hoax were easily refuted by the first researcher to check the documentary evidence. But his thoughts on punctuated equilibrium are pretty convincing, as is his (less developed here) criticism of Dawkins for obsessing about genes rather than individuals. And his essay on heartbe...more
Its all about Natural History/Evolution so you have to at least partially s...more
The pands has five digits plus a "thumb" that is not really a thumb at all. It does show how a thumb could form since there is no gene for a thumb.
Gould argues against the slow change theory of evolution. Rather he argues for dramatic sudden changes. I believe Dawkins and others still continue this argum...more
Where Gould explains the evolution of Disney's Mickey Mouse and how Mickey seems to be the original "Benjamin Button" de-aging thru the decades. And Goofy is probably the only real "adult" in the entire cartoon gang. Poor Goofy, I'd never thought of him as being either a widower or a divorcee or maybe even a single parent before reading this book.
By the way, Pandas don't actually have thumbs, they have, ahhhh, but I'll let you go read the book and find out for youselves :-)
Most of Gould's empirical research was on land snails. Gould...more