In the landmark 1986 book Origins of Sex, biologist Lynn Margulis and science writer Dorion Sagan trace the first appearance of sex back billions of years, to bacteria. Here, they describe the complex evolutionary history that their book will seek to untangle. The following is an excerpt from the introduction.
Follow @yaleSCIbooks Imagine working at an excavation site on a mission to unearth pieces of our prehistoric past. And suddenly you discover a skull underneath mounds of dirt, the remains of a distant ancestor who has remained hidden for millennia. Such a discovery was celebrated in Georgia earlier this month
Follow @yaleSCIbooks Ivan Lett— Before I was seduced by the glitz and glam of book publishing, a little-known fact was that I wanted to be a geneticist. Call me crazy, but to this day if someone starts talking polymorphisms and alleles, I start foaming at the geeky mouth. Misanthrope that
Follow @yaleSCIbooks There are more than 40,000 spider species on planet Earth, occupying habitats from North America to Africa and from the desert to the rainforest. Yet in spite of their vastly different living conditions, all spiders have a similar body structure. How is this possible? Spider silk. It is
Conventional narratives of evolution emphasize that organisms have evolved over time through the gradual accumulation of many genetic mutations, but for some researchers, this approach does not satisfactorily explain true biological novelty. This view, explored by Dr. Marc W. Kirschner and Dr. John C. Gerhart in The Plausibility of Life,