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Evolution


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: $7.81
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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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Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Lowest new price: $6.16
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Author: Jared M. Diamond
Brand: W.W. Norton & Co

"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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Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes

Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives--and Our Lives Change Our Genes Lowest new price: $17.13
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Author: Sharon Moalem MD PhD

Award-winning physician and New York Times bestselling author Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD, reveals how genetic breakthroughs are completely transforming our understanding of both the world and our lives.

INHERITANCE

Conventional wisdom dictates that our genetic destiny is fixed at conception. But Dr. Moalem's groundbreaking book shows us that the human genome is far more fluid and fascinating than your ninth grade biology teacher ever imagined. By bringing us to the bedside of his unique and complex patients, he masterfully demonstrates what rare genetic conditions can teach us all about our own health and well-being.

In the brave new world we're rapidly rocketing into, genetic knowledge has become absolutely crucial. INHERITANCE provides an indispensable roadmap for this journey by teaching you:

-Why you may have recovered from the psychological trauma caused by childhood bullying-but your genes may remain scarred for life.

-How fructose is the sugar that makes fruits sweet-but if you have certain genes, consuming it can buy you a one-way trip to the coroner's office.

-Why ingesting common painkillers is like dosing yourself repeatedly with morphine-if you have a certain set of genes.

-How insurance companies legally use your genetic data to predict the risk of disability for you and your children-and how that impacts the coverage decisions they make for your family.

-How to have the single most important conversation with your doctor-one that can save your life.

And finally:

-Why people with rare genetic conditions hold the keys to medical problems affecting millions.

In this trailblazing book, Dr. Moalem employs his wide-ranging and entertaining interdisciplinary approach to science and medicine-- explaining how art, history, superheroes, sex workers, and sports stars all help us understand the impact of our lives on our genes, and our genes on our lives. INHERITANCE will profoundly alter how you view your genes, your health--and your life.

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2014: In the last microsecond of the scientific age, we’ve figured out that our brains change throughout our life, adapting for good or ill based on lifestyle choices we make. But most of us haven’t yet realized the extent to which our genes also remain flexible, making Dr. Sharon Moalem’s Inheritance nothing short of revolutionary. Drawing on bleeding-edge science and sometimes heartbreaking stories of individuals he’s treated for rare genetic anomalies, Moalem explains how your DNA’s constant shape-shifting is “mediated and orchestrated by how you live, where you live, the stresses you face, and the things you consume.” Most fascinating (and terrifying, especially for parents) is evidence of how experiences--from trauma like bullying to times of happiness--can alter your genes so profoundly that the effects are passed down for generations. But his message is ultimately one of empowerment: we’re accelerating into a world where understanding your unique genetic inheritance will give you the power to eat, exercise, and seek medical treatment tailored to what your body really needs, where we’ll have “the opportunity to transform what we get and what we give,” altering the course of our destiny. --Mari Malcolm

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The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance Lowest new price: $10.28
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Author: David Epstein

Now a New York Times Bestseller!

In high school, I wondered whether the Jamaican Americans who made our track team so successful might carry some special speed gene from their tiny island. In college, I ran against Kenyans, and wondered whether endurance genes might have traveled with them from East Africa. At the same time, I began to notice that a training group on my team could consist of five men who run next to one another, stride for stride, day after day, and nonetheless turn out five entirely different runners. How could this be?


We all knew a star athlete in high school. The one who made it look so easy. He was the starting quarterback and shortstop; she was the all-state point guard and high-jumper. Naturals. Or were they?

The debate is as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to dominate their respective sports? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?
The truth is far messier than a simple dichotomy between nature and nurture. In the decade since the sequencing of the human genome, researchers have slowly begun to uncover how the relationship between biological endowments and a competitor’s training environment affects athleticism. Sports scientists have gradually entered the era of modern genetic research.

In this controversial and engaging exploration of athletic success, Sports Illustrated senior writer David Epstein tackles the great nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle. He investigates the so-called 10,000-hour rule to uncover whether rigorous and consistent practice from a young age is the only route to athletic excellence.

Along the way, Epstein dispels many of our perceptions about why top athletes excel. He shows why some skills that we assume are innate, like the bullet-fast reactions of a baseball or cricket batter, are not, and why other characteristics that we assume are entirely voluntary, like an athlete’s will to train, might in fact have important genetic components.

This subject necessarily involves digging deep into sensitive topics like race and gender. Epstein explores controversial questions such as:
  • Are black athletes genetically predetermined to dominate both sprinting and distance running, and are their abilities influenced by Africa’s geography?
  • Are there genetic reasons to separate male and female athletes in competition?
  • Should we test the genes of young children to determine if they are destined for stardom?
  • Can genetic testing determine who is at risk of injury, brain damage, or even death on the field?
Through on-the-ground reporting from below the equator and above the Arctic Circle, revealing conversations with leading scientists and Olympic champions, and interviews with athletes who have rare genetic mutations or physical traits, Epstein forces us to rethink the very nature of athleticism.
 

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Molecular Biology of the Cell

Molecular Biology of the Cell Lowest new price: $100.00
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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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Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes

Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes Lowest new price: $15.78
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Author: Svante Pääbo

What can we learn from the genomes of our closest evolutionary relatives?

Neanderthal Man tells the story of geneticist Svante Pääbo’s mission to answer this question, and recounts his ultimately successful efforts to genetically define what makes us different from our Neanderthal cousins. Beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2010, Neanderthal Man describes the events, intrigues, failures, and triumphs of these scientifically rich years through the lens of the pioneer and inventor of the field of ancient DNA.

We learn that Neanderthal genes offer a unique window into the lives of our hominin relatives and may hold the key to unlocking the mystery of why humans survived while Neanderthals went extinct. Drawing on genetic and fossil clues, Pääbo explores what is known about the origin of modern humans and their relationship to the Neanderthals and describes the fierce debate surrounding the nature of the two species’ interactions. His findings have not only redrawn our family tree, but recast the fundamentals of human history—the biological beginnings of fully modern Homo sapiens, the direct ancestors of all people alive today.

A riveting story about a visionary researcher and the nature of scientific inquiry, Neanderthal Man offers rich insight into the fundamental question of who we are.

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Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe

Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe Lowest new price: $8.08
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Author: Robert Lanza

Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world—a US News & World Report cover story called him a “genius” and a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.

Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, towards doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.

In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe—our own—from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the reader’s ideas of life—time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.

The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.

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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: $7.22
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Author: Christopher Ryan
Brand: Harper Perennial

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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Lange Biochemistry and Genetics Flash Cards 2/E (LANGE FlashCards)

Lange Biochemistry and Genetics Flash Cards 2/E (LANGE FlashCards) Lowest new price: $24.86
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Author: Suzanne Baron
Brand: Brand: McGraw-Hill Medical

Clinical cases provide complete, concise coverage of the biochemical and genetic diseases tested on the USMLE Step 1 and in basic science courses.

  • A strong focus on the clinical aspects of biochemical and genetic disease
  • Emphasizes boardrelevant coverage
  • Easily compare and contrast diseases
  • Each disease-specific card includes a clinical vignette
  • Important disease facts are highlighted for rapid review

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The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal

The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal Lowest new price: $13.93
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Author: Jared Diamond

At some point during the last 100,000 years, humans began exhibiting traits and behavior that distinguished us from other animals, eventually creating language, art, religion, bicycles, spacecraft, and nuclear weapons—all within a heartbeat of evolutionary time. Now, faced with the threat of nuclear weapons and the effects of climate change, it seems our innate tendencies for violence and invention have led us to a crucial tipping point. Where did these traits come from? Are they part of our species immutable destiny? Or is there hope for our species’ future if we change?

With fascinating facts and his unparalleled readability, Diamond intended his book to improve the world that today’s young people will inherit. Triangle Square’s The Third Chimpanzee for Young People is a book for future generation and the future they’ll help build. 

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