A preview of The Origin Then and Now


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of David N. Reznick's The Origin Then and Now: An Interpretive Guide to the Origin of Species (Princeton University Press, 2010). In the excerpt, Reznick discusses speciation and the case of the mosquitoes of the London Underground, writing, "Public use of the London Underground began on January 10, 1863. That date, or perhaps some earlier date when the tunnels were being readied for traffic, marks the beginning of the path toward the formation of a new species of mosquito. We often wonder how long it takes to form a new species; Darwin speculated timescales on the order of tens of thousand to hundreds of thousands of generations. The mosquitoes of the London Underground show that if conditions are right, the process can be much faster."

Reviewing The Origin Then and Now for BioScience, James T. Costa wrote, "Reznick succeeds in producing a highly engaging and informative 'interpretive guide' to the original On the Origin of Species with an approach that will prove quite useful in different ways to different groups of readers. Those who have read Darwin but perhaps lack knowledge of contemporary evolutionary biology will find the case studies, examples, and discussion of modern context highly instructive; modern biologists will gain much insight into the state of evolutionary thinking at its genesis, à la Darwin. ... I join Resnick in hoping that his interpretive guide will inspire readers to pick up the Origin and enjoy Darwin with a whole new level of comprehension and appreciation."