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Le Pouce du panda : les grandes énigmes de l'évolution (Reflections in Natural History #2)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  5,665 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
Qu'est-ce que cet étrange sixième doigt du panda ? Pourquoi y a-t-il autant d'hommes que de femmes ? En quoi la mystérieuse migration des tortues de mer conforte-t-elle la théorie de l'évolution ? Comment le minime ralentissement de la rotation terrestre (quelques cent-millièmes de seconde par an) peut-il avoir un effet déterminant sur l'histoire de la vie ? Les modificati ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published December 1982 by Grasset (first published 1980)
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Kevin Bradshaw I haven't read Ever Since Darwin, but this book can be appreciated without familiarity with any other work by Gould.
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Cassandra Kay Silva
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Having recently settled in Australia I found the information on Marsupials in South America highly interesting. I also enjoyed his somewhat internal debates about dinosaurs. I still haven't latched on to his writing as much as I would have liked. The content is really good and he has a great sum up near the end about a lot of "points" other science writers have made that really comes through with some fervor about the way that bats and bees see and what the world is to us. The sexual and racial ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This was a hugely enjoyable book by an extremely talented writer. The thought most running across my mind when I was reading this book was: "Where can I get more Stephen Jay Gould books?!"

Since it is a collection of essays, I don't really want to review any of them personally. Sure, some of the science here is 30 years old (Gould was always sharp on the uptake though), some of it is out of favour (say Gould's ideas on the gene-centric view of evolution), but you'll still enjoy reading every bit
This wonderful book is a collection of 31 short articles that appeared in the magazine "Natural History" in the late 1970's ('77-'79)...each 'chapter' is an independent read (for the most part) that, if you are a patient pooper, can be finished in a single seating.
The topics range from discussions about Darwin's "Origin of Species" to Agassiz unenlightened racism to the length of a year 500 million years ago to Mickey Mouse's head size. Gould is a great writer with full command of natural histo
Adrian Colesberry
The greatest modern voice for the neo-Darwinian synthesis. He and a colleague, whose name I forget, re-purposed Kipling's term "just-so stories" to describe evolutionarily plausible but unprovable explanations for things. An amazing critical thinker, Gould realized that if you didn't establish some way of critiquing evolutionary explanations, they would become the equivalent of folk explanations, overpredicting to the point that they could never be disproven. Once evolutionary explanations becam ...more
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, reviewed
Con una prosa estremamente brillante Gould ci accompagna attraverso i grandi temi dell'evoluzione e ci dimostra come la natura, secondo le parole del biologo Francois Jacob, "non è un divino artefice ma un eccellente bricoleur". Dal pollice del panda appunto, ai dinosauri, e passando anche attraverso le evoluzioni fumettistiche di Topolino, Gould ci spiega in modo chiaro e coinvolgente perché sono le più curiose imperfezioni della natura a fornire la prova del carattere casuale dell’evoluzione. ...more
Sabrina Spiher
May 22, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: natural history and science fans.
"An early collection of Stephen Jay Gould's essays from his column in Natural History magazine, The Panda's Thumb was an enjoyable read, assuming you like natural history. It's the third of Gould's collections I've read, and the earliest I've read as well, but it held up well over time. Composed in the late '70s -- '78 and '79, I believe -- the essays in The Panda's Thumb bear the mark of Gould's charming, articulate style ..."

Read the rest of my review at [
Jessica Blevins
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book, read as prep for AP biology before my senior year in high school, brought me into the world of biology in high school, and inspired me to major in biology in college. It also inspired me to read more nonfiction, particularly science nonfiction. It's been one of my favorite types of writing ever since. Steven Gould is amazing at bringing technical concepts into layman's terms.
I'll read anything & everything I can find that Stephen Jay Gould wrote.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karanina, Lindsay
Recommended to Valerie by: Debbie
This man's wit and intelligence and his interest in everything were much to be admired.
Jason Adams
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Stephen Gould has a remarkable ability to cover scientific concepts in an accessible manor without dumbing things down. The format of his "Reflections..." produces bite-sized meditations on evolution and natural history topics. My only concern is with the constant movement of science, that insights of the seventies may be stale in the current thinking. I wonder at times if I am reading a time capsule of a particular mode of thought, or the dawn of the accepted way of thinking.

Things I thought we
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Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Most of Gould's empirical research was on land snails. Gould
More about Stephen Jay Gould...

Other Books in the Series

Reflections in Natural History (10 books)
  • Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History
  • Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History
  • The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History
  • Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History
  • Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History
  • Dinosaur in a Haystack
  • Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms: Essays on Natural History
  • The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History
  • I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History
“I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.” 255 likes
“I had learned that a dexterous, opposable thumb stood among the hallmarks of human success. We had maintained, even exaggerated, this important flexibility of our primate forebears, while most mammals had sacrificed it in specializing their digits. Carnivores run, stab, and scratch. My cat may manipulate me psychologically, but he'll never type or play the piano.” 4 likes
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