Futuyma on natural selection and adaptation


NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of a chapter from the second edition of Douglas J. Futuyma's popular textbook Evolution (Sinauer Associates, 2009). The chapter is on natural selection and adaptation. As Futuyma explains, "The theory of natural selection is the centerpiece of The Origin of Species and of evolutionary theory. It is this theory that accounts for the adaptations of organisms, those innumerable features that so wonderfully equip them for survival and reproduction; it is this theory that accounts for the divergence of species from common ancestors and thus for the endless diversity of life. Natural selection is a simple concept, but it is perhaps the most important idea in biology."

Joel Cracraft writes, "Because it strikes the right balance between breadth and detail, and is conscientiously written with the student in mind, Futuyma's Evolution will resonate in the classroom," and Kevin Padian adds, "His coverage of topics such as the history of the field and macroevolution is not matched in other texts; the level of integration of different evolutionary fields is superior; and his own experience in raising scientific literacy and the public understanding of evolution really comes through." A Supporter of NCSE, Futuyma is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.