Download Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution Audiobook

Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution Audiobook, by Jonathan B. Losos Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Jonathan B. Losos Narrator: Marc Cashman Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2017 ISBN: 9781524778552
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A major new book overturning our assumptions about how evolution works

Earth’s natural history is full of fascinating instances of convergence: phenomena like eyes and wings and tree-climbing lizards that have evolved independently, multiple times. But evolutionary biologists also point out many examples of contingency, cases where the tiniest change—a random mutation or an ancient butterfly sneeze—caused evolution to take a completely different course. What role does each force really play in the constantly changing natural world? Are the plants and animals that exist today, and we humans ourselves, inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? And what does that say about life on other planets?

Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science. He takes us around the globe to meet the researchers who are solving the deepest mysteries of life on Earth through their work in experimental evolutionary science. Losos himself is one of the leaders in this exciting new field, and he illustrates how experiments with guppies, fruit flies, bacteria, foxes, and field mice, along with his own work with anole lizards on Caribbean islands, are rewinding the tape of life to reveal just how rapid and predictable evolution can be.

Improbable Destinies will change the way we think and talk about evolution. Losos’s insights into natural selection and evolutionary change have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria. This compelling narrative offers a new understanding of ourselves and our role in the natural world and the cosmos.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In staggeringly clear and engaging prose, Losos shows us remarkable vignettes of scientists working at personal and professional risk in all sorts of habitats—field, lab and museu —to elucidate stunning mechanisms of evolution…He is one of the premier writers in biology today.”

    Nature

  • “With an ideal combination of clarity and comedy, scholarly caution and infectious enthusiasm, Losos shows us how evolutionary biology opens up for each of us the glorious workings of our world, with surprises around every corner.”

    Washington Post

  • “Explores how we think evolutionary changes happen in populations, from mice to microbes to sticklebacks. Get this for the backyard biologist in your life.”

    Popular Science

  • A Library Journal bestseller in science history

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About the Author

Jonathan B. Losos is a biology professor and director of the Losos Laboratory at Harvard University and Curator of Herpetology at Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. His research regularly appears in top scientific journals, such as Nature and Science, and he has written a popular series about his work for the New York Times. He is the editor in chief of The Princeton Guide to Evolution and a member of the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration. He is the author of Improbable Destinies and Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree: Ecology and Adaptive Radiation of Anoles.

About the Narrator

Marc Cashman, Earphones Award–winning narrator, was named one of the “Best Voices of the Year” by AudioFile magazine. His voice can be heard on radio, television, film, and video games. He also instructs voice actors through his classes, The Cashman Cache of Voice-Acting Techniques, in Los Angeles.