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Evolution


Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Lowest new price: $8.94
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Author: Jared M. Diamond

"Fascinating.... Lays a foundation for understanding human history."—Bill Gates

In this "artful, informative, and delightful" (William H. McNeill, New York Review of Books) book, Jared Diamond convincingly argues that geographical and environmental factors shaped the modern world. Societies that had had a head start in food production advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage, and then developed religion --as well as nasty germs and potent weapons of war --and adventured on sea and land to conquer and decimate preliterate cultures. A major advance in our understanding of human societies, Guns, Germs, and Steel chronicles the way that the modern world came to be and stunningly dismantles racially based theories of human history. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science, the Rhone-Poulenc Prize, and the Commonwealth club of California's Gold Medal.

Explaining what William McNeill called The Rise of the West has become the central problem in the study of global history. In Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond presents the biologist's answer: geography, demography, and ecological happenstance. Diamond evenhandedly reviews human history on every continent since the Ice Age at a rate that emphasizes only the broadest movements of peoples and ideas. Yet his survey is binocular: one eye has the rather distant vision of the evolutionary biologist, while the other eye--and his heart--belongs to the people of New Guinea, where he has done field work for more than 30 years.

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A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History

A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History Lowest new price: $13.08
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Author: Nicholas Wade

Drawing on startling new evidence from the mapping of the genome, an explosive new account of the genetic basis of race and its role in the human story
 
Fewer ideas have been more toxic or harmful than the idea of the biological reality of race, and with it the idea that humans of different races are biologically different from one another. For this understandable reason, the idea has been banished from polite academic conversation. Arguing that race is more than just a social construct can get a scholar run out of town, or at least off campus, on a rail. Human evolution, the consensus view insists, ended in prehistory.

Inconveniently, as Nicholas Wade argues in A Troublesome Inheritance, the consensus view cannot be right. And in fact, we know that populations have changed in the past few thousand years—to be lactose tolerant, for example, and to survive at high altitudes. Race is not a bright-line distinction; by definition it means that the more human populations are kept apart, the more they evolve their own distinct traits under the selective pressure known as Darwinian evolution. For many thousands of years, most human populations stayed where they were and grew distinct, not just in outward appearance but in deeper senses as well.

Wade, the longtime journalist covering genetic advances for The New York Times, draws widely on the work of scientists who have made crucial breakthroughs in establishing the reality of recent human evolution. The most provocative claims in this book involve the genetic basis of human social habits. What we might call middle-class social traits—thrift, docility, nonviolence—have been slowly but surely inculcated genetically within agrarian societies, Wade argues. These “values” obviously had a strong cultural component, but Wade points to evidence that agrarian societies evolved away from hunter-gatherer societies in some crucial respects. Also controversial are his findings regarding the genetic basis of traits we associate with intelligence, such as literacy and numeracy, in certain ethnic populations, including the Chinese and Ashkenazi Jews.

Wade believes deeply in the fundamental equality of all human peoples. He also believes that science is best served by pursuing the truth without fear, and if his mission to arrive at a coherent summa of what the new genetic science does and does not tell us about race and human history leads straight into a minefield, then so be it. This will not be the last word on the subject, but it will begin a powerful and overdue conversation.

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Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves

Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves Lowest new price: $16.59
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Author: Laurel Braitman

** “Science Friday” Summer Reading Pick**
**Discover magazine Top 5 Summer Reads**
**People magazine Best Summer Reads**

“[A] lovely, big-hearted book…brimming with compassion and the tales of the many, many humans who devote their days to making animals well.” —The New York Times

Have you ever wondered if your dog might be a bit depressed? How about heartbroken or homesick? Animal Madness takes these questions seriously, exploring the topic of mental health and recovery in the animal kingdom and turning up lessons that Publishers Weekly calls “Illuminating…Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case of life….[Animal Madness’s] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.”

Susan Orlean calls Animal Madness “a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives.” It is “a gem…that can teach us much about the wildness of our own minds” (Psychology Today).

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, June 2014: As a kid, Laurel Braitman read Charlotte’s Web and suspected that animals really could talk. As a PhD student at MIT studying scientific history, she again honed in on animals in her research. But it wasn’t until she and her husband adopted a Bernese Mountain Dog named Oliver that animal psychology became the puzzle she most urgently wanted to solve. Oliver was inexplicably, uncontrollably anxious, snapping at invisible flies and shredding furniture when he was left alone. When he chewed through a screen, leapt from a fourth-story window, and—incredibly--survived, Braitman became intent on finding a way to help him. In Animal Madness, she shares how “one anxious dog brought me the entire animal kingdom.” Elements of memoir make the story more poignant, but it’s primarily a lively, deeply researched history and an unflinching look at the trauma of modern-day captivity in medical labs and faux-natural zoos. What she discovered about how animal minds go awry and the ways their disorders--from depression to anxiety to OCD and PTSD--look so much like our own (and vice versa) challenge and transform our understanding of the animal experience. What she discovered about how they heal illuminates how humans, too, can come back from the brink. --Mari Malcolm

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Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body Lowest new price: $8.36
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Author: Neil Shubin
Brand: Brand: Vintage

Details on a Major New Discovery included in a New AfterwordWhy do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.

Oliver Sacks on Your Inner Fish
Since the 1970 publication of Migraine, neurologist Oliver Sacks's unusual and fascinating case histories of "differently brained" people and phenomena--a surgeon with Tourette's syndrome, a community of people born totally colorblind, musical hallucinations, to name a few--have been marked by extraordinary compassion and humanity, focusing on the patient as much as the condition. His books include The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Awakenings (which inspired the Oscar-nominated film), and 2007's Musicophilia. He lives in New York City, where he is Professor of Clinical Neurology at Columbia University.

Your Inner Fish is my favorite sort of book--an intelligent, exhilarating, and compelling scientific adventure story, one which will change forever how you understand what it means to be human.

The field of evolutionary biology is just beginning an exciting new age of discovery, and Neil Shubin's research expeditions around the world have redefined the way we now look at the origins of mammals, frogs, crocodiles, tetrapods, and sarcopterygian fish--and thus the way we look at the descent of humankind. One of Shubin's groundbreaking discoveries, only a year and a half ago, was the unearthing of a fish with elbows and a neck, a long-sought evolutionary "missing link" between creatures of the sea and land-dwellers.

My own mother was a surgeon and a comparative anatomist, and she drummed it into me, and into all of her students, that our own anatomy is unintelligible without a knowledge of its evolutionary origins and precursors. The human body becomes infinitely fascinating with such knowledge, which Shubin provides here with grace and clarity. Your Inner Fish shows us how, like the fish with elbows, we carry the whole history of evolution within our own bodies, and how the human genome links us with the rest of life on earth.

Shubin is not only a distinguished scientist, but a wonderfully lucid and elegant writer; he is an irrepressibly enthusiastic teacher whose humor and intelligence and spellbinding narrative make this book an absolute delight. Your Inner Fish is not only a great read; it marks the debut of a science writer of the first rank.

(Photo © Elena Seibert)

A Note from Author Neil Shubin

This book grew out of an extraordinary circumstance in my life. On account of faculty departures, I ended up directing the human anatomy course at the University of Chicago medical school. Anatomy is the course during which nervous first-year medical students dissect human cadavers while learning the names and organization of most of the organs, holes, nerves, and vessels in the body. This is their grand entrance to the world of medicine, a formative experience on their path to becoming physicians. At first glance, you couldn't have imagined a worse candidate for the job of training the next generation of doctors: I'm a fish paleontologist.

It turns out that being a paleontologist is a huge advantage in teaching human anatomy. Why? The best roadmaps to human bodies lie in the bodies of other animals. The simplest way to teach students the nerves in the human head is to show them the state of affairs in sharks. The easiest roadmap to their limbs lies in fish. Reptiles are a real help with the structure of the brain. The reason is that the bodies of these creatures are simpler versions of ours.

During the summer of my second year leading the course, working in the Arctic, my colleagues and I discovered fossil fish that gave us powerful new insights into the invasion of land by fish over 375 million years ago. That discovery and my foray into teaching human anatomy led me to a profound connection. That connection became this book.

Click on thumbnails for larger images

The crew removing the first Tiktaalik in 2004
Ted Daeschler and Neil Shubin propecting for new sites (Credit: Andrew Gillis)
The valley where Tiktaalik was discovered (credit: Ted Daeschler, Academy of Natural Sciences)

The models of Tiktaalik being constructed for exhibition (Tyler Keillor, University of Chicago)
Me with one of the models (John Weinstein, Field Museum)






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Essential Cell Biology, 4th Edition

Essential Cell Biology, 4th Edition Lowest new price: $114.76
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Author: Bruce Alberts
Brand: Brand: Garland Science

Essential Cell Biology provides a readily accessible introduction to the central concepts of cell biology, and its lively, clear writing and exceptional illustrations make it the ideal textbook for a first course in both cell and molecular biology. The text and figures are easy-to-follow, accurate, clear, and engaging for the introductory student. Molecular detail has been kept to a minimum in order to provide the reader with a cohesive conceptual framework for the basic science that underlies our current understanding of all of biology, including the biomedical sciences.

The Fourth Edition has been thoroughly revised, and covers the latest developments in this fast-moving field, yet retains the academic level and length of the previous edition. The book is accompanied by a rich package of online student and instructor resources, including over 130 narrated movies, an expanded and updated Question Bank, and new enhanced assessments for students.

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Molecular Biology of the Cell

Molecular Biology of the Cell Lowest new price: $121.00
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Author: Bruce Alberts
Brand: Unknown

For nearly a quarter century Molecular Biology of the Cell has been the leading cell biology textbook. This tradition continues with the new Fifth Edition, which has been completely revised and updated to describe our current, rapidly advancing understanding of cell biology. To list but a few examples, a large amount of new material is presented on epigenetics; stem cells; RNAi; comparative genomics; the latest cancer therapies; apoptosis (now its own separate chapter); and cell cycle control and the mechanics of M phase (now integrated into one chapter).

The hallmark features of Molecular Biology of the Cell have been retained, such as its consistent and comprehensive art program, clear concept headings, and succinct section summaries. Additionally, in response to extensive feedback from readers, the Fifth Edition now includes several new features.

It is now more portable. Chapters 1-20 are printed and Chapters 21-25, covering multicellular systems, are provided as PDF files on the free Media DVD-ROM which accompanies the book.* And for the first time, Molecular Biology of the Cell now contains end-of-chapter questions. These problems, written by John Wilson and Tim Hunt, emphasize a quantitative approach and the art of reasoning from experiments, and they will help students review and extend their knowledge derived from reading the textbook. The Media DVD-ROM, which is packaged with every copy of the book, contains PowerPoint® presentations with all of the figures, tables and micrographs from the text (available as JPEGs too). Also included is the Media Player, which plays over 125 movies—animations, videos, and molecular models—all with voice-over narration. A new reader-friendly feature is the integration of media codes throughout the text that link directly to relevant videos and animations. The Media DVD-ROM holds the multicellular systems chapters (21-25) of the text as well.

By skillfully extracting the fundamental concepts from this enormous and ever-growing field, the authors tell the story of cell biology, and thereby create a coherent framework through which readers may approach and enjoy this subject that is so central to all of biology.

* There is also a reference edition of Molecular Biology of the Cell, Fifth Edition (ISBN 978-0-8153-4111-6) that contains Chapters 1-25 entirely in printed format.

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Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships Lowest new price: $8.37
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Author: Christopher Ryan

Sex at Dawn challenges conventional wisdom about sex in a big way. By examining the prehistoric origins of human sexual behavior the authors are able to expose the fallacies and weaknesses of standard theories proposed by most experts. This is a provocative, entertaining, and pioneering book. I learned a lot from it and recommend it highly.” — Andrew Weil, M.D.

 “Sex at Dawn irrefutably shows that what is obvious—that human beings, both male and female, are lustful—is true, and has always been so…. The more dubious its evidentiary basis and lack of connection with current reality, the more ardently the scientific inevitability of monogamy is maintained—even as it falls away around us.” — Stanton Peele, Ph.D.

A controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you (think you) know about sex, monogamy, marriage, and family. In the words of Steve Taylor (The Fall, Waking From Sleep), Sex at Dawn is “a wonderfully provocative and well-written book which completely re-evaluates human sexual behavior and gets to the root of many of our social and psychological ills.”

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Survival of the Sickest: The Surprising Connections Between Disease and Longevity (P.S.)

Survival of the Sickest: The Surprising Connections Between Disease and Longevity (P.S.) Lowest new price: $7.15
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Author: Sharon Moalem

Joining the ranks of modern myth busters, Dr. Sharon Moalem turns our current understanding of illness on its head and challenges us to fundamentally change the way we think about our bodies, our health, and our relationship to just about every other living thing on earth. Through a fresh and engaging examination of our evolutionary history, Dr. Moalem reveals how many of the conditions that are diseases today actually gave our ancestors a leg up in the survival sweepstakes. But Survival of the Sickest doesn't stop there. It goes on to demonstrate just how little modern medicine really understands about human health, and offers a new way of thinking that can help all of us live longer, healthier lives.

Dan Ariely on Survival of the Sickest
MIT professor Dan Ariely has become one of the leaders in the growing field of behavioral economics, and his bestselling book debut, Predictably Irrational, has brought his ideas--and his ingenious experiments and charming sense of humor--to a much wider audience. With the simplest of tests (often an auction or a quiz given under a few conditions) he shows again and again not only that we are wired to make irrational decisions in many situations, but that we do so in remarkably predictable ways.

I have always been puzzled by the way in which genetic diseases have managed to survive throughout the ages. How could it be that these diseases were able to withstand the evolutionary process, where only the most fit survive, and continue to be transferred from one generation to the next? Survival of the Sickest provides a thought provoking yet entertaining explanation to this puzzle.

In this insightful book Dr. Sharon Moalem demonstrates how conditions that are considered unhealthy (such as hemochromatosis, diabetes, and high cholesterol), or even deadly in extreme cases, might actually put their carriers at an advantage in combating other life-threatening illnesses. For example, he explains that hemochromatosis, a disease that, if left untreated, will kill you, may have actually been a defense against the deadliest pandemic in history--the bubonic plague during the 14th century. It turns out that this genetic mutation, which continues to be passed down through generations, actually helped spare many lives at one point.

Throughout the book, Dr. Moalem draws many connections between seemingly disparate subjects, such as the accidental invention of ice wine and cold diuresis, in order to illustrate the basic mechanisms of genetics and medicine in charming and intuitive ways. He skillfully interweaves his knowledge of history, genetics, and medicine not only as they relate to specific medical conditions but also in a way that addresses important challenges of modern society and our future evolution.

In the most general terms, Dr. Moalem's description of the human body and its complexity left me in awe of how far we have come in our understanding of biology and medicine, while also being reminded that the road to understanding ourselves is still wide open with much more to learn in the decades, and even centuries, to come. It is a fantastic journey on which he leads us and Dr. Moalem is a kind, knowledgeable, humorous, and helpful guide.

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Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry Lowest new price: $170.00
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Author: Francis Carey
Brand: Brand: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math

A Market Leading, Traditional Approach to Organic Chemistry

For nine editions, Organic Chemistry has been designed to meet the needs of the "mainstream," two-semester, undergraduate organic chemistry course. This best-selling text gives students a solid understanding of organic chemistry by stressing how fundamental reaction mechanisms function and reactions occur.

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The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author

The Selfish Gene: 30th Anniversary Edition--with a new Introduction by the Author Lowest new price: $6.58
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Author: Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
This 30th anniversary edition of Dawkins' fascinating book retains all original material, including the two enlightening chapters added in the second edition. In a new Introduction the author presents his thoughts thirty years after the publication of his first and most famous book, while the inclusion of the two-page original Foreword by brilliant American scientist Robert Trivers shows the enthusiastic reaction of the scientific community at that time. This edition is a celebration of a remarkable exposition of evolutionary thought, a work that has been widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, and that continues to stimulate whole new areas of research today.

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