Buy Used
£7.10
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Get this book fast, expedited shipping available. We guarantee the following - No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins. Very little wear and tear.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The Evolution of Complexity (Princeton Science Library) Paperback – 29 Jan 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Paperback, 29 Jan 2001
£7.10
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; With a New preface by the author edition (29 Jan. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691088098
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691088099
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,503,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

ÝGoodwin's¨ book genuinely illuminates the mysteries of biological development. -- David Papineau "New York Times"

[Goodwin's] book genuinely illuminates the mysteries of biological development.--David Papineau "New York Times "


[Goodwin's] book genuinely illuminates the mysteries of biological development.
--David Papineau "New York Times "

"[Goodwin's] book genuinely illuminates the mysteries of biological development."--David Papineau, "New York Times"

Book Description

An explanation of the theory of evolution in a straightforward, basic manner. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The evolution of complexity by Brian Goodwin, Phoenix (Orion Books), 1997, 254 ff

The New Biology of the emergence of complexity
By Howard Jones

This is a generously illustrated textbook of evolutionary biology that requires readers to get to grips with biological concepts and terminology. It is not for the faint-hearted general reader.
Brian Goodwin was a theoretical biologist who died in 2009 after an eminent research and teaching career. Because the book is over a decade old now there are developments in the mechanism of action of DNA that are not mentioned here, and the Human Genome Project, started in 1990 by James D. Watson and completed in 2003, was still underway when this was written. The emphasis of Goodwin's approach was always holistic in the sense that he saw evolution in terms of interconnection between the constituents of a biological system and between these and the environment. He thus expands on the Darwinian organismal approach and on the preoccupation with the role of the gene favoured by Richard Dawkins and many other biologists, but does not reject either treatment.

Although more than a decade old now, this book is by no means wholly outdated and irrelevant. It provides an excellent introduction to the application of mathematics, physics and computer modelling to biology. Goodwin begins by comparing the situation in biology with the 20th century revolution in physics, when Newtonian macro physics was supplemented by quantum physics of the micro world. Biology similarly in the 20th century shifted emphasis from Darwinian evolution based on organisms to focus on the cellular role of genes. The `leopard' of the title is a metaphor for the science of biology.
Read more ›
6 Comments 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
A splendid book, but to see it as an attack on Natural Selection is almost certainly a mistake - rather it sets out to show that NS is not the whole story when it comes to biological forms. The two are definately complementary
Thought provoking, valuable, and answers a number of questions that natural selection struggles with.
Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly a very good contribution to the area of evolutionary biology. It introduces the reader into the view of morphogenesis and evolution from a fresh perspective and shows how important are the dynamical rules in shaping life. I really enjoyed it.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Execellent view on how forms are emerged from complexity. An orthodox sample of BZ reaction is described vividly and that give you basic idea about complexity, chaos and related implicit on forms of living organisms.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98c2530c) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b4ee94) out of 5 stars Well I've changed my spots! 21 Jun. 2002
By Dr. Leslie Dean Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The main theme is about how DNA doesn't need to provide information in every detail to produce an organism. Chemical, physical and mathematical forces also play a significant part in the production of an organism. The book is also about how natural selection is not the only process at work for evolutionary advancement. I totally agree with the conclusion, and he's sure changed my thoughts on the subject, but it was a challenge to read it all because of the way it is written. It could have been more fun.
For the others that read this book and still don't get "how the leopard changed its spots" - its a metaphor. Leopards aren't supposed to change their spots. The leopard symbolises scientists like Richard Dawkins and others who are fixated with genetic evolution and DNA. After reading this book, will they change their ways? Its not about leopards!
It does have loads of fascinating examples, with all the relevant diagrams & figures to make the point clear, so he's done a good job assembling all of those. From ant colonies & the BZ reaction, to evolution of the eye & fibrillation in the human heart. An example: it is the concentration of calcium that causes the single celled organism (Acetabularia) to grow to a particular shape, NOT the DNA. He also explains why a sunflower seed head forms a spiral, and it is all to do with mathematics, nothing to do with sunflower DNA.
The trouble with this book is that the author uses the word "dynamic" waaaay too much. It quickly becomes very annoying. He is obsessed with that word. Open the book at random, and you will see what I am talking about. Aside from that, it is very tedious to read. Instead of making the ideas easily understood, it seems Brian Goodwin goes out of his way to make it complicated.
I'd really like to give it 3.5 stars, because at the end of it I was glad I read it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anyone, because there are better books out there (you might like to see my other reviews on popular science books). Remember that you can only read a limited number of books in your lifetime, and this one is not perfect. Buy it ONLY if you're specifically interested in this field of science OR you've read all the truly good books out there and want to lower your standards a bit and still keep reading popular science!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b51144) out of 5 stars The New Biology of the emergence of complexity 1 Nov. 2012
By Dr. H. A. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
How the Leopard Changed Its Spots: The evolution of complexity by Brian Goodwin, Phoenix (Orion Books), 1997, 254 ff

This is a generously illustrated textbook of evolutionary biology that requires readers to get to grips with biological concepts and terminology. It is not for the faint-hearted general reader.
Brian Goodwin was a theoretical biologist who died in 2009 after an eminent research and teaching career. Because the book is over a decade old now there are developments in the mechanism of action of DNA that are not mentioned here, and the Human Genome Project, started in 1990 by James D. Watson and completed in 2003, was still underway when this was written. The emphasis of Goodwin's approach was always holistic or ecological in the sense that he saw evolution in terms of interconnection between the constituents of a biological system and between these and the environment. He thus expands on the Darwinian organismal approach and on the preoccupation with the role of the gene favoured by Richard Dawkins and many other biologists, but does not reject either treatment.

Although more than a decade old now, this book is by no means wholly outdated and irrelevant. It provides an excellent introduction to the application of mathematics, physics and computer modelling to biology. Goodwin begins by comparing the situation in biology with the 20th century revolution in physics, when Newtonian macro physics was supplemented by quantum physics of the micro world. Biology similarly in the 20th century shifted emphasis from Darwinian evolution based on organisms to focus on the cellular role of genes. The `leopard' of the title is a metaphor for the science of biology. Darwinian adaptation to environment alone cannot explain the origin and extinction of certain species or characteristics of organisms. Cells can undergo mutations that do not always start with changes in a gene: mutations can also arise from changes in cell structure and environment - ideas that have been established in this decade by researchers like Bruce Lipton and others researching in epigenetics.

Goodwin accepts that complex structures like the eye can arise by a succession of small random changes that accumulate by virtue of the incremental adaptive improvement that each bestows upon the structure. This is the Darwinian approach adopted by biologists like Dawkins, but Goodwin proposes that complexity can also arise spontaneously by cooperation between components of a system. In fact, the emphasis in this presentation is on cooperation in biology rather than competition and `survival of the fittest'.

The key in molecular terms to how such cooperation between biological components comes about lies in the physics of dissipative systems studied by Ilya Prigogine and Gregoire Nicolis. Goodwin uses the chemical Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction (where a mixture of chemicals undergoes continual oscillating colour changes) to illustrate comparable interaction between biological cellular entities. Such organisation from seeming chaos is found also in the patterns produced by computer-generated Mandelbrot sets. As another example of mathematical order in nature, Goodwin describes the occurrence of the patterns of the Fibonacci series that are widespread in nature amongst fauna and flora, a connection inspired by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson's seminal book On Growth and Form.

This is a scientifically demanding but highly informative book for anyone interested in the spontaneous emergence of complexity in the natural world and is prepared to tackle the underlying biology, all explained in relatively simple terms. I've dropped a star in the rating only because there are now more modern books on the same subject. There are half a dozen pages of References and Further Reading, and an Index.

Howard Jones is the author of The Tao of Holism

The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles
The Voice of the Earth: An Exploration of Ecopsychology
11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b52d14) out of 5 stars A different view of evolutionary biology 19 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Standard evolutionary biology assumes that the patterns of evolution observed in nature are mainly the result of historical contingency and natural selection. This book introduces a rather different perspective, showing that there are many fundamental dynamical constraints operating in natural systems. Natural selection acts on this restricted number of possibilities, which are in the end the main forces in shaping our biosphere. A very recomendable reading.
HASH(0x98b600e4) out of 5 stars AN "ORGANOCENTRIC" APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING STRUCTURES 8 May 2013
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Brian Carey Goodwin (1931-2009) was a Canadian mathematician and biologist, a Professor Emeritus at the Open University and a key founder of the field of theoretical biology. He wrote in the Preface to this 1994 book, "the large-scale aspects of evolution remain unexplained, including the origin of species... So Darwin's assumption that the tree of life is a consequence of the gradual accumulation of small hereditary differences appears to be without significant support." (Pg. viii) He adds, "What has developed ... is a new theory of dynamical systems collectively referred to as 'the sciences of complexity'... In this book I explore the consequences of these ideas as they apply to ... the origin and nature of the morphological characteristics that distinguish different types of organism... I take the position that organisms are as real, as fundamental, and as irreducible as the molecules out of which they are made. They are a distinct level of emergent biological order, and the one to which we most immediately relate." (Pg. x)

He states, "there are basic areas where [genocentric biology] fails. One of these... concerns its claims that understanding genes and their activities is enough to explain the properties of organisms. I argue that this is simply wrong... The position I am taking in biology could be called organocentric rather than genocentric. We shall see that organisms live in their own space, characterized by a particular type of organization." (Pg. 3)

He argues, "The trouble is that natural selection provides a very limited type of explanation, and it fails completely on some very important and interesting questions. Going back to the case of whorls, all that natural selection can offer by way of explanation is that whorls are useful in most members of the giant unicellular green algal order ... and they evidently do not 'cost' too much..." (Pg. 88)

He explains, "I am now going to talk about morphogenetic fields... so it is important not to confuse them with the concept of morphic resonance used by Rupert Sheldrake in his book A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance. His fields are nonphysical, whereas the concept of field used to describe pattern formation in biology ... refers to spatial organizing activities that involve clearly defined physical and chemical processes." (Pg. 94) Later, he admits, "Of course, the theory that I have been using is going to turn out to be wrong in certain respects, as with all theories, but that doesn't alter the logic of the argument: Generative principles provide a better foundation for understanding structure than historical lineages." (Pg. 154)

He asserts, "Organisms are endowed with powerful particulars that give them the capacity to regenerate and reproduce their own natures under particular conditions, whereas inanimate systems cannot. This is an emergent property of life that is not explained by the properties of the molecules out of which organisms are made... organisms cannot be reduced to their genes or their molecules. The particular type of organization that exists in the dynamic interplay of the molecular parts of an organism... is always engaged in making and remaking itself in life cycles and exploring its potential for generating new wholes." (Pg. 176)

This book will interest those studying new interpretations of evolutionary theory.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98b601e0) out of 5 stars Pattern formation in complex systems 9 Aug. 2008
By A. Panda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an easy and interesting reading about morphogenesis, which if I understood correctly, is a new branch of biology that tries to explain things that cannot be explained through genetics or evolution alone. It does not contradict existing knowledge or Darwinism, on the contrary, it seems to build on genetics in a beautiful way to complement it.

For example, after cutting off the nucleus from a one-celled algae named acetabularia, its corolarium still grows from the stem. Afterwards, the algae cannot reproduce itself or even synthesize more proteins (since DNA with all its genetic code for producing proteins is located in the nucleus and is therefore gone) and acetabularia dies. The author suggests that the "information" to generate the corolarium in its precise form might be the result of chemical and physical properties of some minerals in the stem, not of genetic instructions (since these are not available anymore at the time the corolarium develops). He is not claiming that genetic instructions are not vital (acetabularia dies when the nucleus is removed), he is just saying that development, specially the "form" could depend on physical and chemical properties of the medium inside the cell (in the end, this medium is also determined by DNA and genetics).

I have read that if you introduce with surgery mother cells into a mammal's brain, new neurons are formed from the mother cells. (For further reference see A User's Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain). Why not liver cells? There must be some physical or chemical signal in the medium, be it electrical signals, radiation, vibration or resonance, chemical reactions, temperature, pressure, magnetism, a morphogenetic field (which I understood as an intrinsic pattern arising from the mix of substances in the medium; the word morphogenetic just because this medium creates or originates a pattern or form specific to the species) or whatever other signal you might think of, to tell the newcomer: "hey, you are inside a brain", so that it becomes a neuron and not a liver cell.

I would think that in order to rule about every little detail of development, there should be a lot of genes in our genome (which in fact there are), but geneticists were expecting to find a lot more than what they really found when Cracking the Genome: Inside the Race to Unlock Human DNA. So why shouln't DNA accept a little help from other friends inside the tremendously complex living organisms? Why should it be responsible of everything? A probably complementary approach can be found in evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-devo), as described in Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo) and Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Vintage).

The explanation of pattern formation even in chemical reactions was extremely interesting, it opened my horizon to look for more information on pattern formation in complex systems. (Complexity, chaos, etc.) If a book is able to make you wish to know more about a topic, it is definitely a 5 star book. Good translation into Spanish by Tusquets /Metatemas by the way.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback