By Christopher Wills
Within the Darwinian vacationer, biologist Christopher Wills takes us on a chain of adventures--exciting of their personal right--that exhibit how ecology and evolution have interacted to create the realm we are living in. a few of these adventures, like his SCUBA dives within the awfully different Lembeh Strait in Indonesia or his come across with a wild wolf cub in western Mongolia, could have been skilled via any quite intrepid traveler. Others, like his adventure of being hammered by way of a serious earthquake off the island of Yap whereas sixty ft down within the ocean, filming manta rays, stand a long way open air the normal. together with his personal gorgeous colour images of the natural world he came upon on his travels, Wills not just takes us to those distant areas yet, extra vital, attracts out the evolutionary tales in the back of the natural world and indicates how our knowing of the dwelling global may be deepened by way of a Darwinian standpoint. furthermore, the e-book deals an in depth and weird view of human evolution, analyzing the complete sweep of our evolutionary tale because it has taken position in the course of the previous international. The reader comes away with a renewed feel of ask yourself in regards to the world's impressive variety, in addition to a brand new appreciation of the lengthy evolutionary historical past that has resulted in the wonders of the present-day. once we lose a species or an surroundings, Wills indicates us, we additionally lose many thousands of years of background. released to coincide with the overseas 12 months for Biodiversity, The Darwinian vacationer is full of globe-trotting exploits, awesome colour images, and eye-opening insights into the evolution of humanity and the wildlife.
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Extra resources for The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes
These mysterious creatures make up the Ediacaran biota, named after regions in Australia where they were ﬁrst found. 11 Although frond-like structures dotted the sea bottom like waving feathers, and strange ﬂat creatures slithered among them, most of the Ediacaran organisms, like those that preceded them, were still too small to be seen with the naked eye. And yet, as we will see, this simple world might have provided an environment for evolutionary experimentation that would not have been possible during either earlier or later times.
The DNA evidence is unequivocal: the echinoderms are much more closely related to us than the mollusks or the arthropods. We can put ﬁrm dates on some of the events in our ancestry. This is because, whenever we have both DNA evidence and fossil evidence about the ancestry of animals, they tend to agree beautifully. For example, there are a relatively small number of DNA differences between ourselves and chimpanzees—our DNA sequences are 96% identical, and we share almost all our genes. Such a high level of identity tells us that we do not have to travel very far back in time to ﬁnd our common ancestor.
And yet, as we will see, this simple world might have provided an environment for evolutionary experimentation that would not have been possible during either earlier or later times. Then, 542 million years ago, at the start of a geological period called the Cambrian, everything changed. Starting with a burst of small shelled mollusks, a multiplicity of animals soon appeared, presaging a world more like 33 THE LIVING WORLD our own. The start of the Cambrian was like the beginning of a concert after an unconscionably long period during which the orchestra seems to have been merely tuning up.
The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes by Christopher Wills