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Charles Darwin's Life with Birds: His Complete Ornithology

Charles Darwin's Life with Birds: His Complete Ornithology

Clifford B Frith

Much of Charles Darwin's groundbreaking work as an evolutionary biologist stemmed from his study of birds. It is universally acknowledged that Darwin's observation of bird groups and species like the Galapagos finches, mockingbirds, and rock doves was critical to the development of his theories on natural selection, evolution, and sexual selection. The significant number of diverse birds that Darwin covered in his published works represents a most substantial ornithological contribution. His major books alone contain reference to and consideration of almost 500 bird species, as well as interesting and pertinent discussion of over 100 ornithological topics.

This is a comprehensive treatment of Darwin's work as an ornithologist. Clifford Frith discusses every ornithological topic and bird species that Darwin researched, providing a complete historical survey of his published writing on birds. Through this, we learn how Darwin became an increasingly skilled and eventually an exceptional ornithologist, and how his relationships grew with contemporary scientists like John Gould. It examines how Darwin was influenced by birds, and how the major themes of his research developed through his study of them. This book also features 4 appendices, which contain brief accounts of every bird species Darwin wrote about, basic ornithological information about each of the species, and a listing of where the species appears in Darwin's work.

"This is an original work that has never been attempted before, and is unique in coupling Darwin with birds. I am familiar with his Birds of Paradise book, so I know the author is capable of presenting fascinating information to the public. There is a huge and perpetual appetite for this subject. I would recommend it to others seeking an understanding of the role played by birds in the development of Darwin's thinking. –"

 - Peter Grant, Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University

512 pages.

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Hardback £45.99

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