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Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolutionby Theodore W. Pietsch
Synopses & Reviews
For the past 450 years, tree-like branching diagrams have attempted to show the complex and surprising interrelationships of organisms, both living and fossil, from viruses and bacteria to birds and mammals. This stunning book celebrates the manifest beauty, intrinsic interest, and human ingenuity revealed in these exquisite trees of life.
Theodore W. Pietsch has chosen 230 trees of life--from among thousands of possible contenders--dating from the sixteenth century to the present day. His arrangement gives readers a visual sense of the historical development of these diagrams and shows how, in Darwin's words, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.
Pietsch's brief, accessible prose accompanies stunning reproductions to tell the engrossing history of evolutionary trees. Over the centuries, trees of life appeared in a wide variety of forms, some revered as iconic while others incited intense controversy. The earliest examples were meant to reveal the imagined temporal order in which God created life on Earth. More recent scientific trees try to represent hypothetical histories of life.
Never before has the full spectrum of trees of life been brought together in a single volume. Pietsch has spent decades collecting and researching the origin and meaning of these evolutionary trees and presents a visually breathtaking and intellectually brilliant history of the form.
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