Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

by Stephen Jay Gould

Paper Book, 1983




New York : Norton, c1983,


History. Science. Nonfiction. Over a century after Darwin published the Origin of Species, Darwinian theory is in a "vibrantly healthy state," writes Stephen Jay Gould, its most engaging and illuminating exponent. Exploring the "peculiar and mysterious particulars of nature," Gould introduces the listener to some of the many and wonderful manifestations of evolutionary biology.

User reviews

LibraryThing member bragan
A collection of essays, almost all of them originally published in Natural History Magazine, covering various topics in evolutionary biology and related fields. These are from the early 1980s, so some of them are a bit dated, but they're still very much worth reading. Gould is a lucid, thoughtful
Show More
writer, and his subject matter is always intriguing, at least for those of a scientific mindset. He isn't simply popularizing scientific concepts or offering up interesting scientific factoids for his readers, either. There's a lot of original thought, analysis, and argument here, whether Gould is attempting to dispel over-simplistic myths about important people in the history of science, contesting the popular notion that extinct species are necessarily failed or "inferior" species, or -- a favorite theme -- pointing out the ways that biologists often fail to sufficiently take into account the role that chance and contingency play in evolution. Fascinating stuff.
Show Less
LibraryThing member monado
The point about hen's teeth is that hens still have the genes to make teeth, but only if the tissue is touching bone... and they don't have jawbones any more. This is an example of how an organism's form can change without a direct genetic change.
LibraryThing member iayork
Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes written by Stephen Jay Gould introduces the reader to the many and wonderful manifestations of evolutionary biology in this book of essays. Gould wrote many essays for "Natural History" and this book covers thirty of those essays as he
Show More
takes us on an evolution ride of a tour de force magnitude.Gould is unparalled when it comes to taking complicated theory and having the ability to evoke enlightenment to the general mass public as he brings a passion to his explanations and an understanding par excellence. Reading Gould's rather convesational tone in this book brings a wealth of information to the reader in a painless fashion.
Gould is truly a natural philosopher when it comes to spinning a story as he brings to the table a wealth of information as you read and the conclusion comes to you in a rather lively and fascinating manor. Gould has hit his stride with these essays.
This book was a joy to read and educational, bringing the reader witty learned sense making you follow till you see his conclusion. The prose flows well and you will feel that you are in capable hands as you are guided throughout the book.
Show Less
LibraryThing member mldavis2
This is the fourth in a series written by Stephen Jay Gould, a paleontologist from Harvard University. Gould looks at some of the early, flawed and heavily biased research that supported racial superiority, along with other factors involved in the evolution of families and species and scientific
Show More
considerations in determining origins. Gould supports the basic Darwinian theory but takes issue with the frequently misunderstood understanding and adaptation of Darwin's work by the public. This work is an academic treatise, and as such, it is little wonder that so few people so deeply invested in evolutionary theory have bothered to read explanations of this type.
Show Less
LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
I just don't know what to think. I don't have the training. I'm glad to know it's old so I don't have to feel like I'm missing something important! (That is to say, any of the ideas he proposes that have been accepted are now part of the current literature, and those that were not accepted can be
Show More
disregarded. :)
Show Less
LibraryThing member JBD1
Another set of Gould's essays, mostly focused on the theme of evolution in one form or another. Like many of these volumes, some of the essays have dated a bit more than others, but there remain some interesting bits.
LibraryThing member vguy
Witty and well-informed as ever. One of the best is on how pioneers of statistics got it all wrong about immigration, moulding their criteria to fit their racist prejudices. Several excursions into Darwin, how wide-ranging he was, what a master of detail as well as grand theory. Strong on, or
Show More
rather against, creationists - no such thing as "scientific creationism". Seems to be a particularly American delusion, a precursor to our present "post-truth" culture.
Show Less




Page: 0.2747 seconds