In all the current highly publicized debates about creationism and its descendant "intelligent design," there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned-the evidence, the empirical truth of evolution by natural selection. Even Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, while extolling the beauty of evolution and examining case studies, have not focused on the evidence itself. Yet the proof is vast, varied, and magnificent, drawn from many different fields of science. Scientists are observing species splitting into two and are finding more and more fossils capturing change in the past-dinosaurs that have sprouted feathers, fish that have grown limbs.
Why Evolution Is True weaves together the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the "indelible stamp" of the processes first proposed by Darwin. In crisp, lucid prose accessible to a wide audience, Why Evolution Is True dispels common misunderstandings and fears about evolution and clearly confirms that this amazing process of change has been firmly established as a scientific truth.
Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Coyne received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. He then earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in 1978, working in the laboratory of Richard Lewontin. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Timothy Prout's laboratory at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago.
Coyne's work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature. To do this, he uses a variety of genetic analyses to locate and identify the genes that produce reproductive barriers between distinct species of the fruit fly Drosophila: barriers like hybrid sterility, ecological differentiation, and mate discrimination. Through finding patterns in the location and action of such genes, he hopes to work out the evolutionary processes that originally produced genetic change, and to determine whether different pairs of species may show similar genetic patterns, implying similar routes to speciation.
Coyne has written over 110 refereed scientific papers and 80 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr). He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals.