The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History

The Panda s Thumb More Reflections in Natural History A collection of essays by the Harvard University paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould

  • Title: The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
  • Author: Stephen Jay Gould
  • ISBN: 9780393013801
  • Page: 183
  • Format: Paperback
  • A collection of 31 essays by the Harvard University paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould.

    Tonight s the night As we announced last fall, the film We Believe in Dinosaurs will air on PBS, Monday, February , at p.m EST. The PBS version, provided by Independent Lens, is a slightly shortened version, evidently designed to fit within an hour an hour and a half actually . min we posted excerpts of reviews of the full version here on PT. The Panda s Thumb book The Panda s Thumb More Reflections in Natural History The Panda s Thumb is fresh and mind stretching Above all, it is exultant So should its readers be H Jack Geiger, New York Times Book Review Gould can do no wrong As long as he writes, you cannot help but read and enjoy Isaac Asimov The Panda s Thumb More Reflections in Natural History by The Panda s Thumb is an overall interesting book dealing with the curiosities of evolution through a compendium of articles written by Gould mostly in the s for Nature magazine The edition even goes over some clarifications which have come into light in Evolution The Panda s Thumb Athro, Limited Biology Jan , The panda s thumb is not a true thumb The panda s true thumb is the adjacent digit , marked I in the figure because it is the first digit and digits are numbered with roman numerals Like digit I of other carnivorans, digit I of the giant panda is made up of just bones, while the other digits are made up of bones each. The Panda s Thumb Stephen Jay Gould TPT The Panda s Thumb This is one of Stephen Jay Gould s most famous essays It makes the case that biological contrivances, juryrigged structures made from available parts, provide better evidence that evolution has occurred natural history in than structures that appear optimized for their function, such as wings or eyes.

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    About "Stephen Jay Gould"

    1. Stephen Jay Gould

      Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.Most of Gould s empirical research was on land snails Gould helped develop the theory of punctuated equilibrium, in which evolutionary stability is marked by instances of rapid change He contributed to evolutionary developmental biology In evolutionary theory, he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology He campaigned against creationism and proposed that science and religion should be considered two compatible, complementary fields, or magisteria, whose authority does not overlap.Many of Gould s essays were reprinted in collected volumes, such as Ever Since Darwin and The Panda s Thumb, while his popular treatises included books such as The Mismeasure of Man, Wonderful Life and Full House.

    568 thoughts on “The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History”

    1. This was a hugely enjoyable book by an extremely talented writer. The thought most running across my mind when I was reading this book was: "Where can I get more Stephen Jay Gould books?!"Since it is a collection of essays, I don't really want to review any of them personally. Sure, some of the science here is 30 years old (Gould was always sharp on the uptake though), some of it is out of favour (say Gould's ideas on the gene-centric view of evolution), but you'll still enjoy reading every bit [...]

    2. Having recently settled in Australia I found the information on Marsupials in South America highly interesting. I also enjoyed his somewhat internal debates about dinosaurs. I still haven't latched on to his writing as much as I would have liked. The content is really good and he has a great sum up near the end about a lot of "points" other science writers have made that really comes through with some fervor about the way that bats and bees see and what the world is to us. The sexual and racial [...]

    3. This wonderful book is a collection of 31 short articles that appeared in the magazine "Natural History" in the late 1970's ('77-'79)each 'chapter' is an independent read (for the most part) that, if you are a patient pooper, can be finished in a single seating. The topics range from discussions about Darwin's "Origin of Species" to Agassiz unenlightened racism to the length of a year 500 million years ago to Mickey Mouse's head size. Gould is a great writer with full command of natural history [...]

    4. Stephen Gould has a remarkable ability to cover scientific concepts in an accessible manor without dumbing things down. The format of his "Reflections" produces bite-sized meditations on evolution and natural history topics. My only concern is with the constant movement of science, that insights of the seventies may be stale in the current thinking. I wonder at times if I am reading a time capsule of a particular mode of thought, or the dawn of the accepted way of thinking.Things I thought were [...]

    5. The greatest modern voice for the neo-Darwinian synthesis. He and a colleague, whose name I forget, re-purposed Kipling's term "just-so stories" to describe evolutionarily plausible but unprovable explanations for things. An amazing critical thinker, Gould realized that if you didn't establish some way of critiquing evolutionary explanations, they would become the equivalent of folk explanations, overpredicting to the point that they could never be disproven. Once evolutionary explanations becam [...]

    6. Con una prosa estremamente brillante Gould ci accompagna attraverso i grandi temi dell'evoluzione e ci dimostra come la natura, secondo le parole del biologo Francois Jacob, "non è un divino artefice ma un eccellente bricoleur". Dal pollice del panda appunto, ai dinosauri, e passando anche attraverso le evoluzioni fumettistiche di Topolino, Gould ci spiega in modo chiaro e coinvolgente perché sono le più curiose imperfezioni della natura a fornire la prova del carattere casuale dell’evoluzi [...]

    7. "An early collection of Stephen Jay Gould's essays from his column in Natural History magazine, The Panda's Thumb was an enjoyable read, assuming you like natural history. It's the third of Gould's collections I've read, and the earliest I've read as well, but it held up well over time. Composed in the late '70s -- '78 and '79, I believe -- the essays in The Panda's Thumb bear the mark of Gould's charming, articulate style "Read the rest of my review at [sabrinaspiher/forums/v]

    8. This book, read as prep for AP biology before my senior year in high school, brought me into the world of biology in high school, and inspired me to major in biology in college. It also inspired me to read more nonfiction, particularly science nonfiction. It's been one of my favorite types of writing ever since. Steven Gould is amazing at bringing technical concepts into layman's terms.

    9. The Panda's Thumb is an overall interesting book dealing with the curiosities of evolution through a compendium of articles written by Gould mostly in the 70s for Nature magazine. The 1992 edition even goes over some clarifications which have come into light in the two decades since the articles have been published. I think the book is a fairly readable popular natural sciences book, although the fragmentation that comes from it being an anthology of articles does make it seem aimless at times. [...]

    10. La prima parte del libro mi è piaciuta molto. E quella che riguarda più specificatamente l'evoluzione. La parte che racconta specifiche storie relative a particolari specie mi ha interessato poco.Molto chiara la parte dell'evoluzione, contiene anche note sul dibattito tra Gould e Dawkins, che ha influenzato la storia delle teorie evoluzionistiche degli ultimi quarant'anni, e ancora continua (anche se Gould non c'è più). I saggi sono stati scritti nel '78 e '79 e in alcuni si vedono le rughe, [...]

    11. Uno de los mejores libros de Jay Gould , en este libro arremete contra Dawkins y su famoso libro el gen egoísta , describe grandes errores de la ciencia como el Hombre de Piltdown o explica el retraso mínimo de la velocidad de traslación de la tierra , entre otros relatos sobre evolución , muy ameno y entretenido

    12. Lucid, welcoming, erudite, and eminently readable. Gould had a genius for conveying biological and geological concepts in crystal English prose, always making sure to bring his reader along with him on his Darwinian journeys.

    13. This is a book of essays originally published by Gould in Natural History magazine, during the time that he was its editor (one of several such books, in fact). As such, it is an effort on his part to appeal to an educated popular audience with snippets of information about current research, particularly into paleontology and evolutionary science (his specialties), but also into other areas of biology and even geology and related sciences. Often, he is responding to then-current media fads, by t [...]

    14. I bought this second hand over 13 years ago and, after reading it, should not have put it off for so long. The topic of evolution has interest for me for two reasons, the first being that biology is the one core area of science I've not studied formally and the second that it (evolution) has become such a flash-point issue in disputes between science and religion. Written as a series of vignettes about various topics, each was an entertaining and enlightening read, although I'm not sure if I'm a [...]

    15. Stephen Gould must be the most charming science writer I have ever read anything of. His style is remarkable for witticism and digging the amusing facts.His essay on Darwin vs. Wallace is one of my favorites in this book.Wallace who had independently reached the theory of evolution before Darwin published his Origin of Species, and whose letter to Darwin caused a slimmer book to be published than what Darwin originally had in mind in order to establish Darwin's priority, eventually balks at the [...]

    16. Around the Year in 52 Books 2017 Reading Challenge. A book from the middle of your to-be-read list.I am not sure who the target audience for this book is. It is NOT meant for graduate students in biology/evolution since although there is a bibliography, specific sources are not cited within the text. It can't be for the general public since that language alone would be daunting for anyone without a strong background in biology.A series of interesting essays which might be discussed in a one cred [...]

    17. 1) ''And thus we may pass from the underlying genetic continuity of change---an essential Darwinian postulate---to a potentially episodic alteration in its manifest result---a sequence of complex, adult organisms. Within complex systems, smoothness of input can translate into episodic change in output. Here we encounter a central paradox of our being and of our quest to understand what made us. Without this level of complexity in construction, we could not have evolved the brains to ask such que [...]

    18. "The Panda's Thumb" is the second volume in a series of essay collections culled primarily from Gould's column "This View Of Life" that was published for nearly thirty years in Natural History magazine, the official popular journal of the American Museum of Natural History. Once more readers are treated to elegantly written, insightful pieces on issues ranging from racial attitudes affecting 19th Century science to evolutionary dilemnas such as the origins of the Panda's thumb (Not really a dile [...]

    19. In the introduction, Stephen Jay Gould hastens to remind us once again that he does not consider himself a polymath, merely another tradesman. In the ensuing remainder of the book, only the second collection of his long-running column in Natural History journal, he defies this modest claim by writing on a wide variety of scientific subjects, using an even wider variety of cultural reference points. The Panda's Thumb even has a theme, of sorts, described by Gould as a 'club sandwich' of topics on [...]

    20. a conglomeration of Gould’s articles and essays about various scientific troubles, anomalies, and paradigm shift resistance specifically aimed at creationist and other anti-science movements, if one can call such things movements. Many times, Gould speaks to the biased human minds that make up the scientific community and the sociological and cultural pressures operating within and upon it. it holds up remarkably well since its publication over 30 years agoom Haekel’s insistence on evolution [...]

    21. I love Stephen Jay Gould. I really do. I'd probably love him more if he hadn't died so early. He takes complicated subject matter and writes about it in such a way that it seems like the simplest thing you've ever read. This book is a collection of essays about natural history, just like most of his books are. This is the first collection of his essays that I've read (I've only read two other books of his, which is absolutely shocking!).There's not really much you can say about his work - it's e [...]

    22. Interesting, and Gould writes well, but flawed.When he talks about Dawkins and the Selfish gene, he is simply wrong, partly I think because he didn't quite understand it, and partly because the idea of selection being on the level of the gene rather than the individual or group offended his sensibilitiesLater, when he wrote about birds and dinosaurs, he seemed not to fully grasp the full implications of placing the birds in the dinosaur groupThirdly his refutation of gradualism was not just that [...]

    23. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a long time, and I'm kicking myself for not reading it sooner. What a delightful little book of science essays! Each essay is an edited version of his monthly columns at Natural History magazine. Subsequently, the essays are intelligible to the general intelligent reader, but Gould does not thereby sacrifice an appreciation for hard facts and subtle reasoning. Gould makes science come alive with his anecdotes, wry humor, and gentle argumentation about t [...]

    24. I'm rereading all of Stephen Jay Gould's works. They are well worth it for pure scientific entertainment. The Panda's Thumb was written in 1980, so it is a bit old. Yet it still stands up well. The pands has five digits plus a "thumb" that is not really a thumb at all. It does show how a thumb could form since there is no gene for a thumb. Gould argues against the slow change theory of evolution. Rather he argues for dramatic sudden changes. I believe Dawkins and others still continue this argum [...]

    25. nwhytevejournal/1378076Some of these pieces are a bit dated (not so surprising in a book published in 1980); his rather daring efforts to finger Teilhard de Chardin as a participant in the Piltdown Man hoax were easily refuted by the first researcher to check the documentary evidence. But his thoughts on punctuated equilibrium are pretty convincing, as is his (less developed here) criticism of Dawkins for obsessing about genes rather than individuals. And his essay on heartbeats and breaths in t [...]

    26. Her okuduğumda hayranlığımın arttığı yazarlardan biridir Gould. (Diğerleri Zola, Carl Sagan ve Tolstoy).Evrim kitaplığının başyapıtlarından biri olan Darwin ve Sonrası'nın devamı niteliğindeki bu kitap da ilkini aratmayacak seviyede kolay anlaşılır ve Gould'un eğlenceli dili ile yazılmış 31 denemeden oluşuyor.Kitapta hatalı organlardan, Piltdown adamına, beyin ve kafatası ölçümlerinin cinsiyetçi ve ırkçı ama bilimsel bakımdan desteksiz amaçlarına, Dawkins [...]

    27. A TRUE "bio-nerd" book. ;) I had to read this I think freshman year for a bio class? It was great even though I "had" to read it!) If I remember correctly, each chapter is a separate story/antecdote so its another book, where if you get bored, just skip to the next chapter and you didnt miss a thing! It includes chapters such as: "Nature's Odd Couples", "A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse" and, "Were Dinosaurs Dumb?"Its all about Natural History/Evolution so you have to at least partially subs [...]

    28. OK, my favorite part?Where Gould explains the evolution of Disney's Mickey Mouse and how Mickey seems to be the original "Benjamin Button" de-aging thru the decades. And Goofy is probably the only real "adult" in the entire cartoon gang. Poor Goofy, I'd never thought of him as being either a widower or a divorcee or maybe even a single parent before reading this book.By the way, Pandas don't actually have thumbs, they have, ahhhh, but I'll let you go read the book and find out for youselves :-)

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