top of page

John Maynard Smith (1920-2004) was a British theoretical evolutionary biologist and geneticist. His 1958 book  The Theory of Evolution (Canto)  was the first "introductory" evolution book that many of us had read. Smith edited this collection of papers which was published in 1982 (including papers such as Orgel and Crick's "Selfish DNA: The Ultimate Parasite"; "Cladistics" by Colin Patterson; Stephen Jay Gould's "Is a New and General Theory of Evolution Emerging?").

He states in the Introduction, "This volume presents some current controversies and recent advances in evolutionary biology, by reprinting papers published in the last few years.... The papers printed below have been grouped under six topics, each with a brief introduction aimed at doing three things. First, I explain how the topic is related to Darwin's ideas. Second, I have tried to help non-specialists to find their way through papers which are sometimes rather technical... Finally, I have allowed myself the indulgence of expressing my own opinion on some of the more controversial issues."

Here are a few sample quotations from the book:

"Gaps between fossil or living taxa do not imply that the forms evolved rapidly, or that macromutations were involved."

"(W)hat is an instant of evolutionary time to a paleontologist may appear almost to be an infinity to a geneticist."

"Depending on the time scale to which the investigator is accustomed, one man's punctuated equilibrium maybe another's evolutionary gradualism."

Evolution Now: A Century After Darwin, edited by John Maynard Smith

SKU: 2.6.15
$7.95Price
    • Publisher : MCMILLAN; First Edition (January 1, 1982)
    • Language : English
    • ISBN-10 : 0333336038
    • ISBN-13 : 978-0333336038