Evolutionary History

Christopher J. Paradise and A. Malcolm Campbell

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This book describes how evolutionary history is studied using several well-known examples and also using evolutionary trees. Evolutionary trees are analyzed and used to explain adaptive radiations of orchids and the diversification of bats over geologic time. Evolutionary trees and genetic evidence is used to infer when and from what ancestors terrestrial plants evolved and invaded land. Specific adaptations of early land plants led to the evolution of terrestrial plants and their success on land. Evidence about the ancestors and habitats of humans is used to infer and analyze the evolution of the human family tree, whose populations were subject to the same forces of evolution to which other species are subject. Human evolution was not linear, involved offshoot species that did not survive, and took many thousands of years. In contrast, evolution can be seen in just a few years or less in other examples, and analysis of the evolution of mechanisms of pesticide resistance in insects will be used to illustrate this rapid evolution.

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Christopher J. Paradise

Christopher J. Paradise is professor of biology and environmental studies at Davidson College. He teaches introductory biology, ecology, entomology, and topical seminars on ecotoxicology and renewable natural resources. He also occasionally leads a study abroad program in India.  His research evaluates anthropogenic factors that influence insect biodiversity at a variety of scales.  His current research interests include effects of land use patterns on pollinator communities in parks.

A. Malcolm Campbell

A. Malcolm Campbell teaches biology at Davidson College, NC. He received national and international education awards: Genetics Society of America (2013); American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012); and American Society for Cell Biology (2006). He was the founding co-editor in chief of CBE Life Sciences Education; founding director of Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT); and member of the American Society for Cell Biology governing council (2012–2014).