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Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond
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Eternal Ephemera: Adaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  13 ratings  ·  8 reviews
One of evolution's fundamental questions is how the skein of life on Earth remains unbroken yet is constantly renewed by new species. What accounts for the scientific paradox that all organisms and species are ephemeral, and yet life endures, yielding more advanced players in nature's eternal play? In this riveting work, renowned scientist Niles Eldredge presents a magiste ...more
Hardcover, 1st, 416 pages
Published February 15th 2015 by Columbia University Press
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3.62  · 
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 ·  13 ratings  ·  8 reviews


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Jaffa Kintigh
Anti-science sentiments rise to the top periodically whether it be from anti-vaxxers, climate-change deniers, or adherents of intelligent design. I am a strongly pro-science person and a fan of science fiction which at its basis should understand science and then speculate from that strong understanding. At times, it's nice to dig into a nonfiction book for a fresh perspective. Personally, I've been a fan of the writings of Stephen Jay Gould, which brings me to this book--the most recent by Nile ...more
Maxine
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For most of us outside the scientific community, our understanding of evolution begins and ends with Charles Darwin. But, as paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Niles Eldredge shows us in his well-written, well-documented, and extremely interesting book, Eternal Ephemera, Darwin is only part of the story albeit a very important part. Eldredge takes us through two hundred years of evolutionary theory beginning with French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck who, in 1801, first began to ponder ...more
Robert
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Niles Eldredge’s book, Eternal Ephemera (2015), is about the evolution of evolution. His narrative pulls together quite nicely the entire history of biological evolution, a topic I touch on in A World Perspective through 21st Century Eyes, in the context of the first of a series of evolutions affecting humanity – followed by cultural evolution and then technological evolution.

Some philosophers view the “goal” of biological evolution to maximize adaptive, hence reproductive, success. It’s viewed
...more
Denise
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Another reviewer mentioned that this book was tedious at times and I agree. Maybe my scientific background isn't deep enough to judge fairly but I found it very rough going and a bit too technical for the average reader. I have found Gould and Thomas to be much more accessible.
Tfalcone
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
First of all, thank you Net Galley for the free reading copy. I was exceptionally excited to get this book, since I am taking a class from Dr. Eldredge this summer. This is very dense reading, so it is going to take me a while to "chew my way through." What I am seeing already is exactly what the book says it is: a complete history of evolutionary thought from humble beginnings to recent understandings.
Right now I have finished the age of Darwin himself, Cuvier and Lamarck, Lyell and Hutton and
...more
Kimberly  Edwin
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have ever read on evolution. It was not popular science and not an easy read but I kept at it and often had to read other books on the side in order to keep up. It was like a graduate course on the history of evolution in science. I had already read Darwin's the Origin of Species and had studied geology and zoology so the material was not completely unfamiliar. Keep the ipad handy to look up unfamiliar terms and organisms, extant and extinct. I enjoy learning and am now r ...more
Bryan
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was good to read about the development of Punctuated Equilibria from one of the originators (with Steven Jay Gould) of the theory. It was also interesting to see that the basic ideas contained in this "taxic" theory of evolution had its roots in the earlier notebooks of Darwin that predate his Origin of Species. In spite of these pluses, I found the book tedious at times. I got the sense that Eldredge was repeating the same concepts over and over in slightly different words, and sometimes his ...more
Mills College Library
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Niles Eldredge (born August 25, 1943) is an American biologist and paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.

Eldredge began his undergraduate studies in Latin at Columbia University. Before completing his degree he switched to the study of anthropology under Norman D. Newell. It was at this time that his work at the American Museum of
...more