Steve Jones's Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England PDF

By Steve Jones

ISBN-10: 0748111387

ISBN-13: 9780748111381

The beginning of Species is the main well-known ebook in technological know-how yet its stature has a tendency to imprecise the genius of Charles Darwin's different works. The Beagle voyage, too, occupied in simple terms 5 of the fifty years of his occupation. He spent purely 5 weeks at the Galapagos and on his go back by no means left Britain back. Darwin wrote six million phrases, in nineteen books and innumerable letters, on subject matters as varied as canine, barnacles, insect-eating vegetation, orchids, earthworms, apes and human emotion. jointly, they laid the principles of contemporary biology.

In this fantastically written, witty and illuminating publication, Steve Jones explores the family Darwin, the sage of Kent, and brings his paintings modern. nice Britain used to be Charles Darwin's different island, its nation-state as a lot, or extra, a spot of discovery than were the Galapagos. It lines the good naturalist's moment trip throughout its modest panorama: a voyage no longer of the physique yet of the mind.

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Extra resources for Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England

Example text

They trapped animals in pits, and may have been cannibals (although another view of the carved bones of their fellows is that they represent a ritual burial). Neanderthals lived in small groups in an icy Europe for far longer than our own species has existed, and then disappeared. Like many other apes, they went quickly. Perhaps a cold snap defeated them, for a remnant hung on in the warmth of southern Spain until well after the moderns arrived. The victors had better clothes, which allowed the tropical ape that they were - and we are - to survive in a climate that killed off an animal more used to bad weather but less well clad.

Primates were all over the place, with a hundred or more distinct species of ape, in Africa, in Asia and in Europe. They lived in woodlands, plains, forests and swamps. Some were no bigger than a cat and others larger than a gorilla. For much of the time their capital was in Europe and many of our predecessors have laid their bones there. Then the animals moved on, to set up shop in Africa. A ten-million-year-old fossil from Kenya may be the common ancestor of men, chimps and gorillas. If so, it confirms Darwin’s speculation that it was more probable ‘that our early progenitors lived on the African continent than elsewhere’.

He spent but five weeks of the five-year voyage in the Galapagos, with just half the time passed on shore, on only four of the dozen or so members of the group. He had little interest in his collection of finches and lumped their corpses together as a jumbled mass without even making a note of where they came from. Many of the famous birds live on several islands rather than one. Two decades passed before the publication of The Origin of Species (in which the word ‘evolution’ does not appear) and in that time its author wrote several substantial books.

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Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England by Steve Jones

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