New PDF release: At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs,

By Carl Zimmer

ISBN-10: 1476799741

ISBN-13: 9781476799742

At the Water's Edge will switch how you take into consideration your house on this planet. The amazing trip of life's transformation from the 1st microbes four billion years in the past to Homo sapiens this day is an epic that we're merely now commencing to snatch. superb and weird, it's the tale of ways we came, what we left at the back of, and what we introduced with us.

We all find out about evolution, however it nonetheless turns out absurd that our ancestors have been fish. Darwin's inspiration of usual choice was once the foremost to fixing generation-to-generation evolution -- microevolution -- however it may possibly in simple terms aspect us towards a whole clarification, nonetheless to return, of the engines of macroevolution, the transformation of physique shapes throughout hundreds of thousands of years. Now, drawing at the most up-to-date fossil discoveries and leap forward medical research, Carl Zimmer unearths how macroevolution works. Escorting us alongside the path of discovery as much as the present dramatic study in paleontology, ecology, genetics, and embryology, Zimmer exhibits how scientists this day are unveiling the secrets and techniques of existence that biologists struggled with centuries in the past.

In this booklet, you'll find a stunning, brash literary expertise and a rigorous clinical sensibility gracefully introduced jointly. Carl Zimmer presents a accomplished, lucid, and authoritative solution to the secret of the way nature really made itself.

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Additional resources for At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea

Example text

Observations of caterpillars by Leendert de Ruiter, a Dutch scientist, provided inferential support for Thayer’s ideas. In the 1950s, de Ruiter carefully evaluated the countershading and behavior of seventeen concealingly colored species of caterpillars that feed on tree foliage in England. Roughly half of these species typically rest along the upper sides of branches and twigs, while the others usually hang upside-down from the lower sides. De Ruiter observed that the direction of countershading was perfectly correlated with the caterpillars’ favored positions: Species that stayed on the branch tops were darker on their backs; those that hung underneath were darker on their bellies.

Cuttlefish, Can you find the moths? The six identical digital moths, shown in the same positions in each panel, are harder to see depending on how well their patterns and shades resemble their surroundings. In (A), they are shown on a uniform gray background. In (B), patches in the background are smaller than those in the moths but are the same shades of gray. In (C), the patches on the moths and the background are the same size, but their shades of gray do not match. In (D), both shades and patch sizes match.

Thayer saw that the perceptual process could be made to work in reverse. If he painted a sphere with an inverted color gradient, making it darker on the top and lighter below, and then illuminated it from above, the natural illumination pattern and the painted gradient would cancel each other out, and the sphere would appear as a flat disk. If the sphere were painted in colors and patterns that match the background, countershading would serve to accentuate the resemblance, “and the spectator,” Thayer wrote “seems to see right through the space really occupied by an opaque animal” (Thayer 1896a, 126).

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At the Water's Edge: Fish with Fingers, Whales with Legs, and How Life Came Ashore but Then Went Back to Sea by Carl Zimmer


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