Trees of Life: A Visual History of Evolution

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JHU Press, Apr 2, 2012 - Science - 358 pages
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For the past 450 years, tree-like branching diagrams have been created to show the complex and surprising interrelationships among organisms, both living and fossil, from viruses and bacteria to birds and mammals. This stunning book celebrates the manifest beauty, intrinsic interest, and human ingenuity of these exquisite trees of life.

Theodore W. Pietsch has chosen 230 trees of life dating from the sixteenth century to the present day. His arrangement gives readers a visual sense of the historical development of these diagrams and shows how, in Darwin’s words, "from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

"With the concept of evolution now often iconified to the point of misrepresentation, Trees of Life reminds us that both the idea and its representation were—and are—fluid, debated, and reconstructed."— Science

" Trees of Life is a beautiful book, and the diversity of beautiful images within its pages should be of interest to historians of science, biologists, folks working at the intersection of science and art, and, honestly, anyone with a genuine interest in science and the study of the natural world. This is a taxonomy of trees of life, if you will."— The Dispersal of Darwin

"Better than any work before it... Anyone interested in the history of phylogenetics and the study of evolutionary relationships should certainly pick up this wonderful book. In a field advancing as quickly as systematic biology, it is nice to look back at the past once in a while."—Systematic Biology

" Trees of Life is the sort of book that instantly fascinates... This exemplary work is an important contribution to the history of evolution."— Taxon

"Looking at the ways images of trees have been used to depict the relationships between organisms over the past five centuries, Pietsch explores how the visual history of these 'trees of life' reveals changing human understandings of evolution."— ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

 

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Contents

Preface
ix
Introduction
xv
Brackets and Tables Circles and Maps 15541872
xxi
Early Botanical Networks and Trees 17661815
26
The First Evolutionary Tree 17861820
34
Diverse and Unusual Trees of the Early Nineteenth Century 18171834
39
The Rule of Five 18191854
52
PreDarwinian Branching Diagrams 18281858
66
The Trees of Alfred Sherwood Romer 19331966
181
Additional Trees of the MidTwentieth Century 19311943
196
The Trees of William King Gregory 19381951
216
Hints of New Approaches 19541969
242
Phenograms and Cladograms 19581966
255
Early Molecular Trees 19621987
274
Notable Trees of the Past Four Decades 19702010
286
Primeval Branches and Universal Trees of Life 19972010
311

Evolution and the Trees of Charles Darwin 18371868
85
The Trees of Ernst Haeckel 18661905
98
PostDarwinian Nonconformists 18681896
123
More Late NineteenthCentury Trees 18741897
131
Trees of the Early Twentieth Century 19011930
149
Glossary
319
Notes
325
References
335
Index
355
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About the author (2012)

Theodore W. Pietsch is Dorothy T. Gilbert Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and Curator of Fishes at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Curious Death of Peter Artedi: A Mystery in the History of Science and Oceanic Anglerfishes: Extraordinary Diversity in the Deep Sea.

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