Thursday, 13 November 2008

News Round

A new book by experts from The Open University is set to reveal the latest evidence for evolution - and how it all adds up.

99% Ape: How evolution adds up explains this fundamental yet often complex subject, and is published to tie-in with the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth in February 2009. Significantly, it also illustrates the relevance of evolution to current issues such as the spread of diseases and the ways our minds work.

The book explores our own origins and the genealogy of all living things, as well as highlighting some of the key turning points in evolutionary history. It presents the latest research on how new species evolve, uncovers the flaws in 'intelligent design', and discusses what evolution has to say about psychology, the development of the human mind and morality, and how we are still evolving.

Written for those with little or no scientific background, this is a comprehensive introduction to evolution and the latest thinking on the subject.

About the editor
Editor and contributor Jonathan Silvertown is an evolutionary biologist in the Department of Life Sciences at The Open University, UK. He is internationally known for his research on the evolution and ecology of plants, and has written numerous works on the subject.

About the authors
The book is a collaboration by experts at The Open University, UK. Peter Skelton is a palaeobiologist in the Department of Earth Sciences and is recognised internationally as an authority on fossil bivalves and their evolution; Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, and one of the world's leading meteorite experts; Caroline Pond is Professor of Comparative Anatomy in the Department of Biological Sciences. Richard Dawkins described her as "the zoologists' zoologist"; David Robinson is a zoologist and evolutionary biologist in the Department of Biological Sciences; Gary Slapper is Professor of Law at the Open University Business School and has a longstanding interest in legal battles over the teaching of Darwinism in the USA; Daniel Nettle worked at the Open University from 2001 to 2004, and is currently Reader in the Centre for Evolution and Behaviour at Newcastle University.

Notes for editors
• 99% Ape: How evolution adds up is published by the Natural History Museum in association with The Open University, UK.
• 99% Ape: How evolution adds up is being included in the Wellcome Trust's Survival Rivals kits which are available for free for all state secondary schools in the UK from Spring 2009. These kits allow students of all ages to take part in Darwin-inspired practical experiments and provide teachers with fantastic curriculum-linked resources. Find out more at www.survivalrivals.org.
• The book forms part of the entry-level Open University course S170: Darwin and Evolution.
• The year 2009 is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin's birth (12th February) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (24th November). Darwin200 is a national programme of events celebrating Charles Darwin's scientific ideas and their impact around his 200th birthday. Darwin200 is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the British Council. Find out more at www.darwin200.org.
• Discover the man and the revolutionary theory that changed our understanding of the world and our place within it. The Natural History Museum's Darwin exhibition is a celebration of Charles Darwin's ideas and their impact, giving new insight into the achievements of this brilliant observer of nature. The exhibition is open to the public from 14 November 2008 to 19 April 2009.

From the OU.

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