A graphic introduction to evolution, full of cheerfully silly but educational digressions.
Repeating the conceit of their The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (2009), Hosler (Biology/Juniata Coll.) and the Cannons reintroduce their alien professor, Bloort 183, who delivers an illustrated lecture on the inhabitants of the bizarre, newly discovered planet Earth, which contains the first life known to exist outside the professor’s own world, Glargal. The occasion is an exclusive, pre-opening royal tour of the Glargalian Holographic Museum of Earth Evolution. His audience, King Floorsh 727 and a precocious son, do their pedagogical duty by interjecting appropriate questions. Notwithstanding the comic-book format, Hosler does not dumb down his subject but provides a precise overview of evolution beginning with the cooling of the primordial Earth, the origin of life and the rise of single and multicellular organisms down through geological eras. A comical biography of Charles Darwin leads into an accurate description of the mechanism of natural selection—random variation within a species with survival of advantageous traits—and the text proceeds smoothly to the origin of species, sexual selection, evolutionary constraints, vestigial organs and extinction. Despite the advertising and imaginative, droll illustrations, the book may not win over science-phobic readers, but it’s a solid introduction.
An accessible, nuts-and-bolts explanation of evolution for adults who want a refresher and high-school teachers searching for a simple primer.