Since its inception during a sabbatical leave in Australia four years ago, this book has traveled with me to Stony Brook, then to Ann Arbor, and again to Stony Brook, suffering long interruptions along the way. Perhaps that is just as well, for the transformation of evolutionary biology has been even faster in this interval than before, and has resulted in a very different book than might have been-different enough to merit its own title. I had intended to prepare a digest of Evolutionary Biology (Third Edition, 1998), rendered of its excesses, and while much of the structure and some of the text of this book descend directly from that tome, it became clear that a new book was in the making. Some topics had to be deleted and many others shortened, while the rapid pace of change in the field required that new topics such as evolutionary genomics be introduced and that almost all topics be updated.
Most importantly, this book is specifically directed toward contemporary undergraduates. That effort will be most immediately evident in the illustrations, but will also be found in the text, where, in the interest of accessibility, I have attempted to make points more explicitly, have (with some reluctance) reduced the quantitative aspects of our science, and have eschewed the Proustian sentences and Elizabethan constructions with which I fain would play. I hope students will enjoy at least some of the results.
I have structured this book, like its recent ancestor, to begin with phylogeny as a framework for inferring history, and history as the natural perspective for evolutionary biology-a perspective that has (quite recently) become almost de rigeur in evolutionary studies and beyond. I continue with macroevolutionary patterns (which I believe most intrigues beginning students), emphasizing the evidence for evolution en route. In addition to their intrinsic interest, the historical patterns should excite in the student questions about evolutionary processes, the subject of the next nine chapters. These chapters provide the basis for understanding the evolution of life histories, genetic systems, ecological interactions, genes and genomes, and development. I then return to macroevolution, approached as a synthesis of evolutionary process and pattern.
This book lacks an explicit chapter on human evolution because most of the topics it would contain are distributed throughout. Instead, the final chapter treats what I think are increasingly important, indeed indispensable, topics in an undergraduate course on evolution: the evidence for evolution, the nature of science, and the failings of creationism. These themes recur throughout the book, implicitly and occasionally explicitly, but I believe it will be useful to treat them as a coherent whole. The final chapter ends on a positive note with a brief survey of some of the social applications of evolutionary biology.
The ever-quickening pace of research and the variety of novel techniques, especially in molecular, genomic, and developmental evolutionary biology, make it increasingly difficult for any one person to keep abreast of and be capable of evaluating research across the entire field of evolutionary studies. So I am very grateful to Scott Edwards (Harvard University) and John True (State University of New York at Stony Brook) for joining me in this venture, and contributing chapters on evolution of genes and genomes (Chapter 19) and on evolutionary developmental biology (Chapter 20), respectively. They have brought to these subjects knowledge and critical understanding well beyond any effort I might have made.
I am also grateful to the many people who have made direct or indirect contributions to the content and development of this book. It has profited from my learning of errors in its predecessor that Werner G. Heim, Eric B. Knox, Uzi Ritte, and Robert H. Tamarin generously brought to my attention. Many people have provided information, references, and advice, including Michael Bell, Prosanta Chakraborty, Jerry Coyne, Daniel Dykhuizen, Walter Eanes, Brian Farrell, Daniel Fisher, John Fleagle, Daniel Funk, Douglas Gill, Philip Gingerich, David Houle, David Jablonski, Charles Janson, Lacey Knowles, Jeffrey Levinton, David Mindell, Daniel Stoebel, Randall Susman, John Thompson, Mark Uhen, Brian Verrelli, and Jianzhi Zhang. Surely this list is very incomplete, and I apologize to those whose names I have omitted. Adam Ehmer helped with preparation of some figures, and Massimo Pigliucci read and offered very helpful comments on a draft of Chapter 22.1 appreciate the contributions of Elizabeth Frieder, Monica Geber, Matt Gitzendanner, Kenneth Gobalet, Mark Kirkpatrick, Sergei Nuzhdin, Ruth Shaw, and William A. Woods, Jr., who reviewed early outlines and chapter drafts.
I am very grateful to those who provided hospitality and support in Australia, including Mark Burgman and Pauline Ladiges (University of Melbourne), Ary Hoffmann (LaTrobe University), and Ross and Ching Crozier (James Cook University); to John and Gabrielle Barkla, Jeremy Burdon, Brad Congdon, Stuart Dashper, Chris Lester, Michael Mathieson, Susan Myers, Richard Nowotny, Jan Powning, Peter Thrall, Jo Wieneke, and others who helped to make me feel welcome; and to the Fulbright Foundation for fellowship support of my sojourn in Australia. I feel a special debt of gratitude to the friends who sustained me in Ann Arbor, especially Tom Gazi, Deborah Goldberg, Lacey Knowles, Josepha Kurdziel, Don Pelz, Josh Rest, Mark Uhen and Gerry Duprey, and John Vandermeer and Ivette Perfecto, and I am grateful to the faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan for the pleasure of having been one of their number. I must express heartfelt gratitude to the faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook for their support and friendship throughout my odyssey.
Finally, this book is immeasurably better than it might have been, thanks to the wonderfully capable Sinauer team, especially Norma Roche, David McIntyre, Elizabeth Morales, Jefferson Johnson, and the amazing Carol Wigg. Special thanks to Andy Sinauer, who sets the gold standard of quality in publishing, for his continuing faith and support.
Douglas J. Futuyma
Stony Brook, New York