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Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

Brian Charlesworth

Publication Date - August 2003

ISBN: 9780192802514

168 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A compact account of evolution--its basic findings, recent developments, and its impact on traditional religion and philosophy


This book illuminates the crucial role of evolutionary biology in transforming our view of human origins and our relation to the universe, highlighting the impact of this theory on traditional philosophy and religion. The authors introduce the general reader to some of the most important basic findings, concepts, and procedures of evolutionary biology, as it has developed since the first publications of Darwin and Wallace on the subject, over 140 years ago. They show how evolution provides a unifying set of principles for the whole of biology and sheds light on the relation of human beings to the universe and each other.


  • Introduces in a clear and concise way the most important basic findings and procedures of evolutionary biology
  • Looks at the evidence for evolution, eg the fossil record, the distribution of species, the similarities and differences between organisms
  • A section at the end looks at the seemingly difficult problems for the theory of evolution
  • Explains adaptation and natural selection
  • Essential for school and undergraduate students studying evolution

About the Author(s)

Brian Charlesworth is Royal Society Research Professor at the Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, and President of the Society for the Study Evolution. His research is mainly in evolutionary genetics, applying classical and molecular genetics to the study of evolution and natural variation. He is author of Evolution in Age-Structured Populations (CUP, 2nd edn. 1994) Deborah Charlesworth is Professor in the ICABP at Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the evolution of plant breeding systems, including how they avoid inbreeding, and work on sex chromosomes and self-incompatibility.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The Processes of Evolution
    3. The Evidence for Evolution: Similarities and Differences Between Organisms
    4. The Evidence for Evolution: Patterns in Time and Space
    5. Adaptation and Natural Selection
    6. The Formation and Divergence of Species
    7. Some Difficult Problems
    Further Reading