This textbook examines a broad range of topics covered in evolutionary biology courses. Part one sets the historical, physical, and chemical framework for the origin of life, and provides in-depth coverage of genome evolution, metabolic pathways, the genetic code, and cellular organization in primeval life. Part two concentrates on the genetic processes underlying the diversity of gene organization, function, and expression; adaptation and neutral evolution; gene frequency changes in populations; and tempos and modes of speciation. Part three emphasizes patterns and trends in evolution as deduced from morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses and from geological and paleontological studies. The final two chapters describe major evolutionary concepts as seen in the emergence of the human family from its ancestral vertebrate beginnings to Homo sapiens. The text is enhanced by numerous tables and illustrations, many from the original research literature. Extensive references, reading lists, and summaries accompany each chapter, providing students with the opportunity to explore further the ongoing challenge of the evolutionary biology of past and present life on Earth.