Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 304 pages.
“In Search of Cell History offers an ambitious, onestop overview of early cell evolution that covers all major theories related to the origin of life, the early evolution and diversification of cells, and the emergence of eukaryotic cells with their structural novelties, such as nuclei, mitochondria, and plastids,” writes reviewer David Baum.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 248 pages.
According to reviewer Daniel Fairbanks, Ancestors in Our Genome attempts “the daunting task of explaining to a lay audience how the massive amount of genomic information currently available to geneticists has informed our understanding of human evolutionary history.” While the book is difficult, he predicts, “Readers will come away from it with a powerful and up-to-date understanding of how the science of genomics is revolutionizing our understanding of human evolution and of evolution in general.”
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 203 pages.
The Accidental Species is aimed at disputing human exceptionalism, reviewer Jonathan Marks explains, complaining that its “ambitious theoretical goals … tend to be more strongly avowed than subtly argued.” But he praises the book nevertheless for “the pains it takes to contextualize paleoanthropology within paleontology more generally.
“Last Ape Standing is an unconventional book on human evolution, in a positive way. Missing are the usual cast of colorful paleoanthropological characters … and many of the fossil discoveries that have shaped the scientific history of paleoanthropology. Instead, the reader gets to explore a panoply of topics, from the co-evolution of music and language to the origins and consequences of primate curiosity. It sparks interest in the many dimensions of human evolution,” writes reviewer Jeffrey K. McKee.
Comparing The Tree of Life with Guillaume Lecointre and Hervé Le Guyader’s similar 2006 book of the same name, reviewer Kevin Padian writes, “The aim of both books is to document the phylogenetic relationships of living groups, characterizing each one by its unique features … and providing a sketch of its ecology and evolution.
New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2014. 288 pages.
“Animal Weapons is a hard-hitting campaign—a bit of a Blitzkrieg through major themes in evolutionary escalation, peppered with dazzling examples from across the spectrum of animals and their adaptations, from the horns of dung beetles to the guns of battleships,” writes reviewer Rafe Sagarin. “Emlen is so intimately immersed in those subjects and such a good communicator that he easily weaves them into some clever new syntheses and clear comparative frameworks.”
New Haven (CT): Yale University Press, 2013. 368 pages.
In Shaping Humanity, the paleoartist John Gurche discusses his work on the hominin sculptures in the Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian Institution. Reviewer Pat Shipman writes, “he reveals how he and a Smithsonian committee selected ideas, content, and poses to be portrayed so each would reveal something of the essence of each species.
In his book, “Archibald relates what is now known about the origin of eukaryotes and presents the questions that remain,” writes reviewer Susan Spath. “[H]is book is not easy for a non-specialist to read, but it is enjoyable and rewarding. It would be most useful to readers with reasonably strong science backgrounds who want to learn about the origins of the endosymbiont theory and understand where it stands today.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 576 pages.
“How the Earth Turned Green should be required reading for all pre-service biology teachers and on the bookshelf of all K–16 science instructors,” writes reviewer Marshall D. Sundberg, for “Armstrong uses plant evolution, in the broad sense, to demonstrate how to teach the big ideas of science underlying the evolution of life on Earth. ... His refreshing wit and straightforward commentary lead the reader through an evolutionary explanation of why a predominant color of earth is green.”