Synopses & Reviews
In The Darwinian Tourist
, biologist Christopher Wills takes us on a series of adventures--exciting in their own right--that demonstrate how ecology and evolution have interacted to create the world we live in.
Some of these adventures, like his SCUBA dives in the incredibly diverse Lembeh Strait in Indonesia or his encounter with a wild wolf cub in western Mongolia, might have been experienced by any reasonably intrepid traveller. Others, like his experience of being hammered by a severe earthquake off the island of Yap while sixty feet down in the ocean, filming manta rays, stand far outside the ordinary. With his own stunning color photographs of the wildlife he discovered on his travels, Wills not only takes us to these far-off places but, more important, draws out the evolutionary stories behind the wildlife and shows how our understanding of the living world can be deepened by a Darwinian perspective. In addition, the book offers an extensive and unusual view of human evolution, examining the entire sweep of our evolutionary story as it has taken place throughout the Old World. The reader comes away with a renewed sense of wonder about the world's astounding diversity, along with a new appreciation of the long evolutionary history that has led to the wonders of the present-day. When we lose a species or an ecosystem, Wills shows us, we also lose many millions of years of history.
Published to coincide with the International Year for Biodiversity, The Darwinian Tourist is packed with globe-trotting exploits, brilliant color photography, and eye-opening insights into the evolution of humanity and the natural world.
About the Author
is Professor of Biological Sciences and member of the Center for Molecular Genetics at the University of California. He received the Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1999. He is the author of the bestselling The Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness, Children of Prometheus: The Accelerating Pace of Human Evolution
(a finalist for the 2000 Aventis Prize, the most important English prize for science books), and many other books.
Table of Contents
Part One: The Living World
2. The Inner Workings of Evolution
3. The Shifting Earth
5. Rainforests, Diseases and Ecological Diversity
Part Two:The Human Story
6. How Domesticated Animals Changed the World
7. The Great Migration
8. The San and the Hobbits