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.
- 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.
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)
"… the subject matter is well explained and easy to read. … the "History of Life" section maps major diversification events with crucial ancestors in 8 chapters, starting with a fresh look at the first two billion years of evolution. … seven chapters meticulously analyze the rise of eukaryotic complexity. Chapters always interface the fossil record with evidence from a wide range of fields, including cladistics, anatomy, physiology, development, molecular biology, and genomics. Origins and relationships of lines of descent that are considered in a state of flux are appropriately recognized and fossil records that are thin are explicitly recognized. All chapters are beautifully illustrated. [This book] represents a laudable and significant effort of integration and synthesis of knowledge in disparate fields. It informs both the scientist and the public about evolutionary thinking and the history life. There is ample need to rally the scientists and educate the public about the importance of evolution … Bard’s wonderful book accomplishes the task."
- Gustavo Caetano-Anollés in BioEssays
"… there is a real emphasis on genomics, developmental biology, and systems biology which gives the book a very current perspective, and it is informed throughout by a very scholarly discussion of the latest developments.
… introductory section that includes a very readable overview of the history of evolutionary thought, reminding us that modern evolutionary biology has no monopoly on character assassinations, large egos, and visceral disagreements. As well as being interesting and well-informed, it is tremendous fun.
As ever, the scholarship is very up to date, and the discussion also makes time for some of the wonderful scientific curiosities and speculations that frequently illuminate the field of early animal evolution.
… a superb account of human evolutionary history that was a pleasure to read.
Altogether, Evolution is a fine addition to the bookshelf that does an excellent and very scholarly job of surveying modern evolutionary biology. The book will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate evolutionary biology students, but also to students of anthropology and medicine (I hope even some of my own). A thoroughly informative and enjoyable read."
- Thomas Butts in Journal of Anatomy Sept 2022