The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two Princeton University scientists— evolutionary biologists—engaged in an extraordinary investigation. They are. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. Jonathan Weiner, Author Alfred A. Knopf $30 (p) ISBN The Beak of the Finch: Evolution in Real Time by Jonathan Weiner, Jonathan Cape, pp , £ An astonishingly large proportion of the.

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Sexual preference, adaptive behaviors, and cross-breeding affect this in several ways and, if the pressures are extreme, the changes can A cripplingly tedious account of cripplingly tedious field fhe that tends to confirm things that you thought were totally obvious.

Aug 18, Sarah rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This is a masterpiece of accessible science writing. I admit that I found the book a bit garbled.

Now after a few flood seasons, the hybrids are doing very well They have been watching these finches ever since. You can’t ‘preserve’ a species.

The smallest differences — so small that no one had thought them worthy of study prior to the Grants — have an effect so profound on a population that it’s literally visible to the naked eye.

They recorded and made detailed measurements of every single bird and its offspring, generation after generation.

The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time

Aug 08, Jennifer Glass added it Shelves: The book seems to lose some steam towards the end as the author tries to make some larger points. Thus the pendulum swings from species fission to species fusion. Thanks for telling us about the problem. We see the same effect with bacterial diseases evolving resistance to modern antibiotics. Unless you’re specifically interested in finches, there are probably other books that you’ll get more out of.

THE BEAK OF THE FINCH by Jonathan Weiner | Kirkus Reviews

For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: It can be successfully tested, and it has been. For most people with a high school education, natural selection, at the level depicted in the book, is pure common sense. The Grants went to see if they could observe evolution in action as they felt that even Darwin did not completely understand his own theory and the evolutionary process was not always the slow and gradual one he believed it to be.


This author has written a non-fiction adventure that everybody can read and understand. He did not even think they were all finches.

Evolution by variation and natural selection can be observed, and it has been. This book should be required reading and study in all high schools, all across America. Weiner follows the career of two biologists, Peter and Rosemary Grantwho have spent twenty years proving that Charles Darwin did not know the full strength of his theory of evolution. Evolution is not a slow methodical process, requiring thousands of years to nuance changes in species.

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What we do with our overuse of these herbicides and medications is to artificially ‘select’ for resistant strains that end up becoming the majority of the population. In addition to the finches, the author goes on to discuss other theories that came out of this work.

My least favorite part was the last few chapters when the author got away from finches and switched to humans.

However, mere natural selection does not alone give you “evolution. One thing they found is that evolution can happen much more quickly that most people–even Darwin himself–realized. Not even good for slavery. The tragedy of the commons is not just a human one; as it turns out, the individual selfishness that makes evolution and capitalism, not to put too fine a point on it work collectively can backfire on birds, too. In this dramatic story of groundbreaking scientific research, Jonathan Weiner follows these scientists as they watch Darwin’s finches and come up with a new understanding of life itself.

Darwin’s voyage on the Beagleand the finches in particular, are known to have influenced his thinking so that he would later produce a basic theory of evolution by natural selection. They say Abbott screamed Other that that, it’s a good book, though I didn’t think it was amazing.

Cathy If you mean tame as in lacking “fear” or the need to flee from humans, then many animals in the Galapagos are “tame. I have to admit, that I didn’t study every page of The origin of Species, but I got the general picture. In this book Jonathan Weiner shows us that natural selection is neither rare nor slow: But then, it’s the rare Pulitzer Prize winner that I do enjoy or am even interested in, so, as I have stated many a time, I may just have poor taste.


The string is left untied, like a line of data with the final numbers erased. The information throughout on the history of biology is also interesting. As the book’s title implies, Weiner focuses on Darwin’s finches, the baker’s dozen of Galapagos species whose beaks so aptly tell the tale of adaptation and selection. Other studies are also detailed that deal with different species such as moths and guppies. Quotes from The Beak of the F It is carefully researched, impeccably crafted, unflinchingly dramatic, yet conscientiously scientific.

Therefore, it wasn’t “real science. The finches aren’t the only animals discussed; cichlid fish a favorite of evolutionary biologists for the ease with which they can be studied are discussed at several points; and the later part of the book includes a chapter that Rachel Carson would have loved about pesticides and the adaptation of insects that such chemicals prompt. Great story, told well. Well good thing that I did, because in The Beak of the Finch there are references to Darwin throughout the entire book.

However, the book invites you experience every trial and tribulation of the marooned Galapagian finches and of the pathetic scientists who waste their lives watching and measuring them.

He sprinkles the book with quotes from and allusions to the Bible. It’s far beyond theory status, as most people seem to use and understand the word. I appreciated both the proof that the ensuing data provides for natural selection and evolution which Darwin could only logically assume as well as the implications for how we treat the planet and plan strategies for intervention from antibiotics to species introduction.