Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, Second Edition, The

  • Zimmer, Carl
Copyright Year:2014
Specifications:464 pages, softback, printed in full color
Publication Status:Just published (August 26, 2013)

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About this Title

Used widely in non-majors biology classes, The Tangled Bank is the first textbook about evolution intended for the general reader. Zimmer, an award-winning science writer, takes readers on a fascinating journey into the latest discoveries about evolution. In the Canadian Arctic, paleontologists unearth fossils documenting the move of our ancestors from sea to land. In the outback of Australia, a zoologist tracks some of the world’s deadliest snakes to decipher the 100-million-year evolution of venom molecules. In Africa, geneticists are gathering DNA to probe the origin of our species. In clear, non-technical language, Zimmer explains the central concepts essential for understanding new advances in evolution, including natural selection, genetic drift, and sexual selection. He demonstrates how vital evolution is to all branches of modern biology—from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the analysis of the human genome.

The second edition of The Tangled Bank has been dramatically revised. It includes an entirely new chapter focused on human evolution, for example, as well as discussions of additional concepts in evolution, new illustrations, and descriptions of new research. There's also a new Study Guide written by Dr. Alison Perkins (University of Montana) that offers a wealth of study aids and activities specifically tailored to The Tangled Bank. 

Richly illustrated with 285 drawings and photographs, The Tangled Bank is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the history of life on Earth.

About the Author

Carl Zimmer is one of the country’s leading science writers. A columnist for The New York Times and a regular contributor to magazines like Scientific American and National Geographic, he is the author of thirteen books, including Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea and A Planet of Viruses. Zimmer is a lecturer at Yale University, where he teaches science writing. He is a three-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award and the winner of the National Academies Communication Award. You can learn more at the author's website: www.carlzimmer.com.

Table of Contents

1. Walking Whales: An Introduction To Evolution

2. Before and After Darwin: A Brief History of Evolutionary Biology

3. What the Rocks Say: How Geology and Paleontology Reveal the History of Life

4. The Tree of Life: How Biologists Use Phylogeny to Reconstruct the Deep Past

5. Evolution’s Raw Materials

6. The Ways of Change: Drift, and Selection

7. Molecular Evolution: The History in Our Genes

8. Adaptation: The Birth of the New

9. Sex and Family

10. Darwin’s First Question: The Origin of Species

11. Macroevolution: Life Over the Long Run

12. Intimate Partnerships: How Species Adapt to Each Other

13. Minds and Microbes: The Evolution of Behavior

14. A New Kind Of Ape

15. Evolutionary Medicine 

Teaching Materials and Supplements

For qualified instructors, we are pleased to offer all of the figures and photos in JPEG format for teaching purposes. Please contact the editor, Ben Roberts, at bwr@roberts-publishers.com for a link to download the images. 

This edition includes a new Study Guide written by Dr. Alison Perkins (University of Montana). The guide includes a wide range of activities and learning pedagogy, including pre-assessment questions, learning objectives, and test questions. Throughout, the focus is on developing an interest and deeper appreciation for evolutionary science. 


"Spectacularly successful.” —Quarterly Review of Biology

“The Tangled Bank is the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. It is excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists.”— Edward O. Wilson, University Professor, Emeritus, Harvard University

“Zimmer describes the processes and patterns of evolution admirably, using his flair with language and substantial knowledge of biology…. Zimmer has a gift for finding just the right example to fascinate the reader, encouraging him or her to want to read on and learn more. The book is astoundingly well illustrated; it could serve as a coffee-table book as well as an up-to-date introduction to the changing ways in which evolution has been and is being studied. A book to both browse and read in depth.”—CHOICE (by B. K. Hall, Dalhousie University)

"The best textbook I’ve seen for a non-majors introductory biology course about evolution.... well-produced, up-to-date, readable, and exceptionally well illustrated. At no point does it falter." —Randy Moore, CBE—Life Sciences Education Book Review

"One rarely says of a textbook, 'I couldn't put it down,' but that was how I felt reading Carl Zimmer's The Tangled Bank. Zimmer has applied his award-winning communication skills to produce a readable yet up-to-date and thorough treatment of evolutionary biology." —Eugenie C. Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education