The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two Princeton University scientists— evolutionary biologists—engaged in an extraordinary investigation. They are. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Jonathan Weiner, Author Alfred A. Knopf $30 (p) ISBN The Beak of the Finch: Evolution in Real Time by Jonathan Weiner, Jonathan Cape, pp , £ An astonishingly large proportion of the.

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Views Read Edit View history. Let me some up. I’ve always been frustrated by some of the gaps in evolutionary theory – or at least as my nonscientific and unlettered mind perceives them. The Grants have proven that evolution can happen quickly, and that pressure makes species evolve. It can move much faster.

The string is left untied, like a line of data with the final numbers erased. Under strong selection pressures, such as extreme droughts or rainfall, the average length of the birds beaks can change significantly in just a generation as longer or shorter beaks become more advantageous.

Clearly written, fascinating, enjoyable, clear, focused and concise, directed toward the layman but backed up with real science, verifiable facts and an ultimately undeniable thesis make for weinre book that should be required reading for everyone it will be for my kids. Beak of the Finch. He shows the extent of the effects of our actions on the evolution of almost all the species around us including of course our own.

The finch population in this island is small enough so that the researchers could track and record practically each individual fonch from birth to death, but large enough to have diversity with thirteen species of finches.

And finally, demonstrating the role of hybridization in speciation was really interesting and informative. The birds are all brownish or black.



We like to think that it happened a long time ago and long stretches of time are needed for its latest effects to surface. Most male finch mature to a solid black color, while wekner females mature to a drab grayish color. The science in the middle of the book lost me for a few dozen pages, but the last one hundred tie everything together. This article needs additional citations for verification. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction inthough I think it’s only a solid book, nothing spectacular.

This book is really important. Apr 27, Molly rated it really liked it Shelves: It’s cool to picture how macro-evolution happens as a result of thousands of years of micro-evolution. All those clever birds adapted to fill niches that te normally be filled by other birds.

I found just about every chapter interesting, but my attention would wane by the end of each chapter. Timely for me since we were visiting Galapagos Isles while I read this. Also by Jonathan Weiner.

The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner | : Books

It is the best exploration of evolution written in recent years. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Instead, over time, the species wobbles about its phenotypic mean. I admit that I found the book a bit garbled. The book seems to lose some steam towards the end as the author tries to make some larger points.

Howeve This book details a wonderful natural experiment: It is nice to learn fo bit about the scientists’ The Beak of the Finch is an excellent introduction to contemporary evolutionary theory.

The Beak of the Finch

Weiner shows how this is not always the case and how evolution can proceed with varying speeds under different conditions.

Read this, and then read The Wfiner of the Beagle by Darwin. The book gradually runs natural selection down and pounds it relentlessly into the guano-encrusted tuff of Daphne Major.

The information throughout on the history of biology is also interesting. Read it Forward Read it first. As Jonathan Weiner points weindr in this classic of science writing, weijer word “evolution” comes from the Latin word for unfolding, rolling out like a scroll. Oftentimes, scientific people don’t understand just how dumb non-scientific people are, but Jonathan Weiner does. Neither too dry nor too familiar, Weiner’s writing cinch as wonderful as his subject matter.


I’ll be recommending this to anyone interested in learning more about what evolution is and whether it’s real. I am curious if you have been weijer the Galapagos are the animals and birds as tame as they are depicted in Weiner’s book?

Another powerful idea was speciation and how it occurs without necessarily being always caused by geographical isolation. No one’s ever going to do anything like it. It’s also explained where Darwin’s weinrr is incomplete.

We see the same effect with bacterial diseases evolving resistance to modern antibiotics. Should you read this book? It all happened when the first finch or two blew into the volcano islands millennia ago, right? Well good thing that I did, because in The Beak of the Finch there are references to Darwin throughout the entire book. This was a really interesting look into the constant evolution of finches in the Galapagos. It can be successfully tested, and it has been.

Guess it was written in the mids when we all hadn’t heard quite so much about these topics but these days Kim Sterelny cites this rapid natural selection as illustrating an important point about periods of relative stasis in the punctuated equilibrium hypothesis of Niles Eldredge welner Stephen Jay Gould: You can’t ‘preserve’ a species.