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Book Title: The Pattern of Evolution|
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Reader ratings: 4.7
The author of the book: Niles Eldredge
Edition: W.H. Freeman & Company
Date of issue: 1999
ISBN 13: 9780716730460
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 868 KB
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In The Pattern of Evolution, Eldredge offers readers a fascinating view into this window of our world through time. As he and other researchers continue to uncover patterns in their respective fields, and as new disciplines emerge to straddle traditional scientific boundaries, the window grows wider. And some provocative questions arise: Are there connections between the ways the living and nonliving worlds function and evolve? In the aftermath of a tumultuous collision between the earth's biological and physical forces - a tropical storm of tremendous proportions - did the Cecropia tree Eldredge encountered merely survive the devastation, or did the storm clear its way? He examines the history of ideas on evolution from the beginning of the modern scientific era, about two centuries ago, to the present. Seizing on evidence of similar patterns across disciplines, he shows how important issues and events have brought us to the brink of a more comprehensive understanding of the earth. Learning how things work within and between systems is the key to realizing the relation between the world's living and nonliving parts. It is Eldredge's thesis that exploring the connections across systems will lead to the realization that biological evolution is driven by the same underlying forces that have shaped the geology of our planet.
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Read information about the authorNiles Eldredge (born August 25, 1943) is an American biologist and paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.
Eldredge began his undergraduate studies in Latin at Columbia University. Before completing his degree he switched to the study of anthropology under Norman D. Newell. It was at this time that his work at the American Museum of Natural History began, under the combined Columbia University-American Museum graduate studies program.
Eldredge graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1965, and enrolled in the university's doctoral program while continuing his research at the museum. He completed his PhD in 1969.
In 1969, Eldredge became a curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, and subsequently a curator in the Invertebrate Paleontology section of Paleontology, a position from which he recently retired. He was also an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York. His specialty was the evolution of mid-Paleozoic Phacopida trilobites: a group of extinct arthropods that lived between 543 and 245 million years ago.
Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould proposed punctuated equilibria in 1972. Punctuated equilibrium is a refinement to evolutionary theory. It describes patterns of descent taking place in "fits and starts" separated by long periods of stability.
Eldredge went on to develop a hierarchical vision of evolutionary and ecological systems. Around this time, he became focused on the rapid destruction of many of the world's habitats and species.
Throughout his career, he has used repeated patterns in the history of life to refine ideas on how the evolutionary process actually works. Eldredge is proponent of the importance of environment in explaining the patterns in evolution.
Eldredge is a critic of the gene-centric view of evolution. His most recent venture is the development of an alternative account to the gene-based notions of evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior.
He has published more than 160 scientific articles, books, and reviews, including Reinventing Darwin, an examination of current controversies in evolutionary biology, and Dominion, a consideration of the ecological and evolutionary past, present, and future of Homo sapiens.
Eldredge enjoys playing jazz trumpet and is an avid collector of 19th century cornets. He shares his home in Ridgewood, New Jersey with his wife and more than 500 cornets. He also has two sons, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Eldredge possesses a chart of the historical development of cornets (the musical instruments), which he uses as a comparison with that of the development of trilobites. The differences between them are meant to highlight the failures of intelligent design by comparing a system that is definitely designed, with a system that is not designed.
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