Evolution : The Origins and Mechanisms of Diversity book cover
1st Edition

The Origins and Mechanisms of Diversity

ISBN 9780367357016
Published December 31, 2021 by CRC Press
536 Pages 169 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Evolution is the single unifying principle of biology and core to everything in the life sciences. More than a century of work by scientists from across the biological spectrum has produced a detailed history of life across the phyla and explained the mechanisms by which new species form.

This textbook covers both this history and the mechanisms of speciation; it also aims to provide students with the background needed to read the research literature on evolution. Students will therefore learn about cladistics, molecular phylogenies, the molecular-genetical basis of evolutionary change including the important role of protein networks, symbionts and holobionts, together with the core principles of developmental biology. The book also includes introductory appendices that provide background knowledge on, for example, the diversity of life today, fossils, the geology of Earth and the history of evolutionary thought.

Key Features

  • Summarizes the origins of life and the evolution of the eukaryotic cell and of Urbilateria, the last common ancestor of invertebrates and vertebrates.
  • Reviews the history of life across the phyla based on the fossil record and computational phylogenetics.
  • Explains evo-devo and the generation of anatomical novelties.
  • Illustrates the roles of small populations, genetic drift, mutation and selection in speciation.
  • Documents human evolution using the fossil record and evidence of dispersal across the world leading to the emergence of modern humans.

Table of Contents

Preface.  SECTION I: AN INTRODUCTION TO EVOLUTION  1. Approaching Evolution  2. A Potted History of Evolutionary Science  3. The Ancient World  4. Life Today: Species Diversity and Classification  SECTION II. THE EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION  5. Analysing Evolutionary Change  6. The Anatomical Evidence for Evolutionary Change  7. The Genomic Evidence  8. The Evo-Devo Evidence  SECTION III: THE HISTORY OF LIFE  9. The First Two Billion Years  10. The Roots of the Eukaryotic Tree of Life  11. The Evolution of Algae and Plants  12. The Evolution of Multicellular Organisms in the Ediacaran period  13. The Cambrian Explosion and the Evolution of Protostomes  14. Deuterostome Evolution: From the Beginnings to the Amphibians  15. Vertebrate Evolution: Stem Mammals, Reptiles and Birds  16. Vertebrate Evolution: Mammals  SECTION IV: MECHANISMS OF EVOLUTION  17. Variation 1: Mutations and Phenotypes  18. Variation 2: Evolutionary Change  19. Adaptation, Symbionts and Holobionts  20. Selection  21. Evolutionary Population Genetics  22. Speciation  SECTION V: HUMAN EVOLUTION  23. Human Evolution 1: The Fossil Evidence  24. Human Evolution 2: Genes and Migrations  25. Human Evolution 3: The Origins of Modern Humans  26. Conclusions  Appendix 1. Systems Biology  Appendix 2. A History of Evolutionary Thought  Appendix 3. A Brief History of the World  Appendix 4. Rocks, Dates and Fossils  Appendix 5: Constructing Molecular Phylogenies  Appendix 6: Three Key Model Organisms: Mouse, Drosophila and H. sapiens  Appendix 7: Some Principles of Animal Developmental Biology  Appendix 8: Evolution Versus Creationism  Glossary.  Acknowledgements.  Index.

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Professor Jonathan Bard is a vertebrate developmental anatomist who has also published research papers in evolutionary, theoretical and systems biology and in bioinformatics. He worked at the MRC Human Genetics Unit and at the University of Edinburgh and is currently a graduate advisor at Balliol College Oxford.


"Evolution unifies biology, and this is a book that unifies evolution. This glorious book celebrates both the developmental origins and the natural selection of organismal diversity. It sets a new standard for Evolutionary Biology textbooks, maintaining its focus on actual organisms, while synthesizing the genetic bases of selection and adaptation with cladistics, developmental biology, paleontology, symbiotic networks, and systems theory. Everyone reading this well-written and meticulously researched book will gain a greater amazement for the world we inhabit."
Scott F. Gilbert (Swarthmore College)