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The Evolving World

The Evolving World

Evolution in Everyday Life

David P. Mindell

ISBN 9780674025585

Publication date: 10/31/2007

In the 150 years since Darwin, evolutionary biology has proven as essential as it is controversial, a critical concept for answering questions about everything from the genetic code and the structure of cells to the reproduction, development, and migration of animal and plant life. But today, as David P. Mindell makes undeniably clear in The Evolving World, evolutionary biology is much more than an explanatory concept. It is indispensable to the world we live in. This book provides the first truly accessible and balanced account of how evolution has become a tool with applications that are thoroughly integrated, and deeply useful, in our everyday lives and our societies, often in ways that we do not realize.

When we domesticate wild species for agriculture or companionship; when we manage our exposure to pathogens and prevent or control epidemics; when we foster the diversity of species and safeguard the functioning of ecosystems: in each of these cases, Mindell shows us, evolutionary biology applies. It is at work when we recognize that humans represent a single evolutionary family with variant cultures but shared biological capabilities and motivations. And last but not least, we see here how evolutionary biology comes into play when we use knowledge of evolution to pursue justice within the legal system and to promote further scientific discovery through education and academic research.

More than revealing evolution's everyday uses and value, The Evolving World demonstrates the excitement inherent in its applications--and convinces us as never before that evolutionary biology has become absolutely necessary for human existence.


  • This wonderful book should be put in the hands of every student, every teacher, every person in America today. David Mindell is passionate about the science of evolution and about the ways in which it impinges on our daily lives. It is the perfect antidote to all of those sterile alternatives forwarded by the Christian Right and their fellow travelers. The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life does more than show that science is important. It shows that it can be tremendous fun.

    —Michael Ruse, author of The Evolution-Creation Struggle


  • David P. Mindell is Program Director for the Division of Environmental Biology at the National Science Foundation.

Book Details

  • 352 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press