Read Eight Little Piggies : Reflections In Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould Free Online
Book Title: Eight Little Piggies : Reflections In Natural History|
The author of the book: Stephen Jay Gould
Edition: W. W. Norton & Company
Date of issue: 1993
ISBN 13: 9780393034165
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 361 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.1
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It's easy to think that we are the most ephemeral of creatures, our lifetimes but a blink in the overall scheme. One of the things I get from reading Gould is the knowledge that we are very ancient creatures. I am an ancient creature. On the cellular level "mitochondria and chloroplasts look uncannily like entire prokaryotic organisms (they have their own DNA and are the same size as bacteria). Almost surely, they began as symbionts within cells of other species and later became more highly integrated to form the eukaryotic cell (so that each cell in our body has the evolutionary status of a former colony.)" (p. 320)
So, not only are we each a living record of hundreds of millions of years of ancestry, but the so-called "junk" DNA--the seemingly useless, nonfunctional copies upon copies of genes we possess--may actually permit the evolution of complexity. We are very ancient yet our species contains the mechanism for further evolution. In light of this, it becomes difficult for me to feel for very long any sense of dislocation from my time and place in the world. Such knowledge grounds one in a complex universe. "Life is continuous in the crucial sense that all creatures form a web of unbroken genealogical linkage." (p. 327)
Here, too, is a reason I love reading. Highly recommended.
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Read information about the authorStephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Most of Gould's empirical research was on land snails. Gould helped develop the theory of punctuated equilibrium, in which evolutionary stability is marked by instances of rapid change. He contributed to evolutionary developmental biology. In evolutionary theory, he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology. He campaigned against creationism and proposed that science and religion should be considered two compatible, complementary fields, or "magisteria," whose authority does not overlap.
Many of Gould's essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin and The Panda's Thumb, while his popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man, Wonderful Life and Full House.
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