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The Theory That Changed Everything: On the Origin of Species as a Work in Progress

Philip Lieberman

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Columbia University Press
15 October 2017
Mathematics & Sciences; History of science; Evolution; Genetics (non-medical)
Few people have done as much to change how we view the world as Charles Darwin. Yet On the Origin of Species is more cited than read. Some of it is considered outdated; in some ways, it has been consigned to the nineteenth century. In The Theory That Changed Everything, the renowned cognitive scientist Philip Lieberman demonstrates that there is no better guide to the world's living things than Darwin, as the phenomena that he observed are still being explored at the frontiers of science. In a wide-ranging voyage from Darwin's transformative trip aboard the Beagle to Lieberman's own sojourns in the remotest regions of the Himalayas, this book relates contemporary findings to the major concepts of Darwinian theory. Drawing on his own research into the evolution of human linguistic and cognitive abilities, Lieberman explains the paths that adapted human anatomy to language, the acrobatics of the lungs and larynx and a tongue that facilitates speech at the cost of the peril of choking. He demystifies the role of recently identified transcriptional and epigenetic factors encoded in DNA, explaining how nineteenth-century Swedish famines alternating with years of plenty caused survivors' grandchildren to die many years short of their life expectancy. Lieberman is equally at home decoding supermarket shelves and climbing with the Sherpas as he discusses how natural selection explains features from lactose tolerance to ease of breathing at Himalayan altitudes. With conversational clarity and memorable examples, Lieberman relates the insights that led to groundbreaking discoveries in both Darwin's time and our own while asking provocative questions about what Darwin would have made of controversial issues today.
By:   Philip Lieberman
Imprint:   Columbia University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
Weight:   454g
ISBN:   9780231178082
ISBN 10:   0231178085
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   15 October 2017
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Undergraduate ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Philip Lieberman is George Hazard Crooker University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University. He is the author of Human Language and Our Reptilian Brain: The Subcortical Bases of Speech, Syntax, and Thought (2002); Toward an Evolutionary Biology of Language (2006); and The Unpredictable Species: What Makes Humans Unique (2013), among others.

Reviews for The Theory That Changed Everything: On the Origin of Species as a Work in Progress

Strikes a balance between the historical context in which Darwin made his remarkable contributions to science and contemporary scientific work.--Christina Behme, Brandon University


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