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e-Book Children Of Prometheus: The Accelerating Pace Of Human Evolution download

e-Book Children Of Prometheus: The Accelerating Pace Of Human Evolution download

by Wills Christopher

ISBN: 0713993480
ISBN13: 978-0713993486
Language: English
Publisher: Allen Lane The Penquin Press (1999)
Pages: 320
Category: Biological Sciences
Subategory: Math Science

ePub size: 1408 kb
Fb2 size: 1990 kb
DJVU size: 1938 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 933
Other Formats: azw mobi lit lrf

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Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1998.

Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1998.

Christopher J. Wills (born 1938) is Professor of Biology at UCSD. As a Guggenheim Fellow, he worked at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, on protein chemistry and evolution. Children of Prometheus was a finalist for the Aventis Prize in 2000.

A complex and rewarding look at the state of human evolution.

book by Christopher Wills. Ever since Darwin published The Descent of Man, we have wondered about the future of our species. A complex and rewarding look at the state of human evolution. Published by Thriftbooks. com User, 19 years ago. Christopher Wills puts to rest a common belief that humans, having mastered their environment, have brought their own evolution to a standstill, now exempted from the pressures of natural selection. Humans, through their manipulation of the environment both deliberate and unintended, have actually increased the pace of evolution, both their own and that of other animals.

His books include Yellow Fever, Black Goddess and Children of Prometheus. By: Christopher Wills(Author). Publisher: Perseus Running Press. Bestsellers in Human Evolution & Anthropology. Who We Are and How We Got Here. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution. 310 pp. View via Publisher. The Allen Institute for AIProudly built by AI2 with the help of our.

Christopher Wills is Professor of Biology at the University of California

Listen to unlimited audiobooks on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android. Christopher Wills is Professor of Biology at the University of California. In his popular books, which include Yellow Fever, Black Goddess, he offers fascinating insights into the world of biological science and how it affects our daily lives. Children of Prometheus answers three basic but intriguing questions: Are we still evolving? If so, how? What are we evolving into? As Wills traces the many forms of natural selection in Part I, he considers examples ranging from Sherpas to British civil servants.

Staff View for: Children of Prometheus : the acceleratin. Wills, Christopher Published: Reading, Mass. Perseus Books, MLA Citation. These citations may not conform precisely to your selected citation style. Published: Reading, Mass.

Comments:
Zainn
As an evolutionary biologist working on insects, I had turned to this book to help fill in some gaps in my conceptualization of how evolution and selection may be affecting humans today. But while I don't think this book is poorly written or of no merit, I had a hard time getting much from it. In fact, I got more from the review of the anthropological research regarding fossil discoveries than from any of Will's attempts at synthesis.
For me, the biggest flaw of the book is a lack of a true vision of what "evolution" actually MEANS in this context. As obvious or as simple as it sounds, there is never much discussion of this fundamentally key issue. Instead, examples and speculation are given that the gene pool of Homo sapiens is changing, and allele frequencies of many genes are undoubtedly different than they were millenia ago. It takes a whole book to make this one point, yet from there, the only synthesis Will can make is that because allele frequencies are changing, therefore selection MUST be acting on them. Mostly speculative with little in the way of support, his treatment of an interesting topic just falls short. In other words, it's all bun and no burger. It may still be worth reading, as it is written very clearly and without the pitfalls of scientific jargon...making it a brief read. But I think you could do much better than to use this as your source for intellectual inquiry...I'm going to look around from something better.

Erienan
Christopher Wills puts to rest a common belief that humans, having mastered their environment, have brought their own evolution to a standstill, now exempted from the pressures of natural selection. Humans, through their manipulation of the environment both deliberate and unintended, have actually increased the pace of evolution, both their own and that of other animals. Wills brings the professional knowledge of population genetics to this subject to write a popular science book which will challenge the reader far more than many other popular science books.
He fills the beginning of the book with many insightful examples which hold the attention and educate the reader. Where we encounter more familiar examples, Wills takes the subject several steps deeper in a way which will keep more veteran science readers interested in addition to illuminating Wills' thesis. For example, with the malaria/sickle cell anemia phenomenon, he goes on to show many other patterns of balanced polymorphism and also elaborates on the role that the appearance of human agriculture has played in causing this phenomenon in the first place. His example of the Tibetans evolutionary adaptation to their environment truly fascinated me.
In the next part, he presents a thorough evolutionary account of the emergence of humans from Australopithecus, including useful comparisons with our great ape relatives and some special focus on our recently extinct closest relative, Neandertal. Far more than just a summary of human evolution 101, this section of the book demands the most attention out of the reader. In addition to providing the outline for human evolution, Wills takes the opportunity to introduce the reader to many in depth concepts of population genetics which play crucially into his thesis. Don't feel frustrated if you find yourself needing to reread chapters in this section, where the first part may have breezed by for you. You will miss a lot of Wills' thesis if you drop out at this point. I found the graphics in this section crucial to helping me understand, and I only wish the author and/or publisher had provided more.
Finally the last part presents the final unfolding of Wills' thesis bringing careful attention to the ongoing evolution of human mental capacities, in addition to a keen focus on cultural factors at work. Wills introduces the idea of "culturgen," E.O. Wilson's less popular competing synonym of Richard Dawkins' "meme" in describing interplay between culture and biology. This choice of terms proves apt, however, in that Wills' evolutionary thesis proves far more complex than the conceptual elegance of Dawkins' selfish gene theory.
Wills concentrates far more on population genetics rather than the individual gene. His interest here lies in the unexpressed genetic potential of an individual, in addition to the extended phenotype of expressed genes. He focusses far more on the population, environmental, cultural, developmental and greater genetic contexts in which formerly hidden genetic potential becomes expressed. Instead of natural selection granting a biological reprieve for the human species, it has instead selected for genetic diversity, both hidden and expressed, and Wills explores the ramifications of this. Where Wills' evolutionary outlook lacks the conceptual elegance of selfish gene and selfish meme theory, he more than makes up for it in dealing more directly and realistically with the actual complexities of human evolutionary realities.
This book stands as one of the more challenging and rewarding popular science books to deal with human evolution.

Dagdalas
This book isn't entirely worthless -- but it illustrates the tendency of scientific specialists to think that they're experts on everything. Wills not only professes to know evolutionary biology: he knows everything else as well.

Except that he doesn't.

To avoid tedium, I'll just give one example. While talking about the genetic isolation of the European Neandertal, Wills mentions by way of analogy a "mysterious" people who speak a "mysterious" language called Ladin. How mysterious!

Wills even tells us that these origins are very mysterious.

But there's really nothing mysterious about them at all. Ladin is a Romance language, no more mysterious than French and Italian. As the name should indicate, Ladin comes from Latin. Duh.

And so science marches on!

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