Evolution is the single unifying principle of biology and core to everything in the life sciences. More than a century of work by scientists from across the biological spectrum has produced a detailed history of life across the phyla and explained the mechanisms by which new species form.

This textbook covers both this history and the mechanisms of speciation; it also aims to provide students with the background needed to read the research literature on evolution. Students will therefore learn about cladistics, molecular phylogenies, the molecular-genetical basis of evolutionary change including the important role of protein networks, symbionts and holobionts, together with the core principles of developmental biology. The book also includes introductory appendices that provide background knowledge on, for example, the diversity of life today, fossils, the geology of Earth and the history of evolutionary thought.

Key Features

  • Summarizes the origins of life and the evolution of the eukaryotic cell and of Urbilateria, the last common ancestor of invertebrates and vertebrates.
  • Reviews the history of life across the phyla based on the fossil record and computational phylogenetics.
  • Explains evo-devo and the generation of anatomical novelties.
  • Illustrates the roles of small populations, genetic drift, mutation and selection in speciation.
  • Documents human evolution using the fossil record and evidence of dispersal across the world leading to the emergence of modern humans.

part Section One|36 pages

An Introduction to Evolution

chapter 1|6 pages

Approaching Evolution

chapter 2|6 pages

A Potted History of Evolutionary Science

chapter 3|10 pages

The Ancient World

part Section Two|54 pages

The Evidence for Evolution

chapter 5|12 pages

Analysing Evolutionary Change

chapter 7|12 pages

The Genomic Evidence

chapter 8|14 pages

The Evo-Devo Evidence

part Section Three|138 pages

The History of Life

part Section Four|106 pages

The Mechanisms of Evolution

chapter 17|18 pages

Variation 1: Mutations and Phenotypes

chapter 18|18 pages

Variation 2: Evolutionary Change

chapter 19|16 pages

Adaptation, Symbionts, and Holobionts

chapter 20|16 pages


chapter 21|18 pages

Evolutionary Population Genetics

chapter 22|16 pages


part Section Five|58 pages

Human Evolution

chapter 23|14 pages

Human Evolution 1: the Fossil Evidence

chapter 24|12 pages

Human Evolution 2: Genes and Migrations

chapter 26|12 pages