RDS Library & Archives

Wagner, Andreas, 1967 January 26-

Arrival of the fittest : solving evolution's greatest puzzle / Andreas Wagner. - London : Oneworld, 2014. - viii, 291 p. : ill. ; 24 cm

Includes bibliographical references and index.

World enough, and time -- What Darwin didn't know -- The origin of innovation -- The universal library -- Shapely beauties -- Command and control -- The hidden architecture -- From nature to technology -- Plato's cave.

Discover the laws behind nature's creativity in this landmark book from one of today's most inventive scientists. We all know about natural selection and the so-called survival of the fittest, which governs how evolution preserves useful adaptations in each subsequent generation of a species. Unfortunately, random change alone could not have produced life as we know it - the maths don't add up, according to cutting-edge research by Andreas Wagner in the revolutionary field of computational biology. The power of Darwin's natural selection is beyond doubt, explaining how useful adaptations are preserved over generations. But the biggest mystery about evolution eluded him: how those adaptations arise in the first place. Can random mutations over a mere 3.8 billion years solely be responsible for wings, eyeballs, knees, photosynthesis, and the rest of nature's creative marvels? And by calling these mutations 'random', are we not just admitting our own ignorance? What if we could now uncover the wellspring of all biological innovation? Renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner presents the missing piece in Darwin's theory. Using cutting-edge experimental and computational technologies, he has found that adaptations are not just driven by chance, but by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take. Consider the Arctic cod, a fish that lives in waters cold enough to turn the internal fluids of most organisms into ice crystals. And yet, the Arctic cod survives by producing 'natural anti-freeze', proteins that lower the freezing temperature of its body fluids. The invention of those proteins is an archetypal example of nature's enormous powers of creativity. Meticulously researched, carefully argued, and full of fascinating examples from the animal kingdom, Arrival of the Fittest offers up the final puzzle piece in the mystery of life's rich diversity.
The power of Darwin's theory of natural selection is beyond doubt, it explains how useful adaptations are preserved over generations. But evolution's biggest mystery eluded Darwin: how those adaptations arise in the first place. Can random mutations over a 3.8 billion years be solely responsible for wings, eyeballs, knees, photosynthesis, and the rest of nature's creative marvels? And by calling these mutations 'random', are we not just admitting our own ignorance? What if we could now uncover the wellspring of all biological innovation? Renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner presents the missing piece in Darwin's theory. Using cutting-edge experimental and computational technologies, he has found that adaptations are in fact driven by a set of laws that allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take. Consider the Arctic cod, a fish that lives in waters cold enough to turn the internal fluids of most organisms into ice crystals. And yet the Arctic cod survives by producing 'natural anti-freeze', proteins that lower the freezing temperature of its body fluids. The invention of those proteins is an archetypal example of nature's enormous powers of creativity. Meticulously researched, carefully argued, and full of fascinating examples from the animal kingdom, Arrival of the Fittest offers up the final puzzle piece in the mystery of life's rich diversity. COPAC




9781780745169 : (hbk.)

GBB493747 bnb


Evolution--Popular works.

576.8

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