Biology & Natural History

Mayr, Ernst | One Long Argument

  • First edition, first printing. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to his colleague John Maynard Smith on the title, “For John Maynard Smith, whose image of Darwin is very much like mine. In friendship and admiration, Ernst Mayr”.

    Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was an ornithologist and one of the 20th-century’s leading evolutionary biologists, a major contributor to the modern synthesis of Darwinian evolution, taxonomy, and genetics. His two great ideas — which have since influenced every aspect of modern biology — were the definition of the species as a population that can only breed within itself, rather than all morphologically similar individuals, and the corresponding theory of peripatric speciation, which explains that speciation occurs when populations of the same species are isolated from each other and evolve differently. Mayr is also credited with developing the modern philosophy of biology, and published a number of books on Darwin and the history and philosophy of evolutionary theories. The present volume is a popular distillation of Darwin’s key arguments and the way he and his supporters viewed evolution by natural selection.

    The recipient of this volume, John Maynard Smith (1920-2004) was also a prominent evolutionary biologist. Originally an aeronautical engineer, he took a second degree in biology, studying fruit fly genetics under J. B. S. Haldane at the University of London. Smith was responsible for the application of modern mathematical ideas, in particular game theory, to the study of evolution, and made significant contributions to the modelling of sexual selection. Though they never worked closely together, Smith and Mayr were jointly awarded the Crafoord Prize jointly with George C. Williams.

  • ...Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.

    Octavo. Original green cloth, black cloth backstrip, titles to spine gilt, buff endpapers. With the dust jacket. Illustrations within the text. Spine rolled, cloth very lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy in the lightly rubbed jacket with minor partial fading and scratches to the lower panel and a few nicks and short closed tears.