Whatever picture you are building in your mind about Evolution: The Whole Story (Firefly), rebuild it. This book is bigger, more complete, denser of thought and material and more brilliantly illustrated than anything you are imagining. As the title promises, this <i>is</i> the whole story. Full stop.
Editor Steve Parker is a senior scientific fellow of the Zoological Society of London and the author of hundreds of books including The Encyclopedia of Sharks and Planet-Ape. He is a scholar well placed to put together the final word on evolution. And he has.
This is not an argument for evolution. That would be a very different and much less useful book. Rather, it is a work that demonstrates the principles of evolution and illustrates developments in the field. In a foreword, Alice Roberts, clinical anatomist and professor of public engagement in science at the University of Birmingham sums things up:
This book sets out to present the beautiful and awe-inspiring range of biodiversity, past and present. It’s a fantastic guide to life on this planet, starting with the earliest hints of living creatures preserved in rocks, then looking at plants, and at major groups of animals. In this way, we learn about not only the adaptations we see in living species, but also how those adaptations arose. And we discover how each species — including our own — is connected with others: with past ancestors and living cousins. We’re all tiny twigs on the great Tree of Life.
A terrific addition to the family library. ◊