Evolutionary Biology Reading List

I would like to put together a reading list in evo bio. The books you must read to really grasp the subject. Ranging from genetics, development, phylogenetics, paleontology, biogeography. Please feel free to add yours.

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For laypeople? Just books?

Let’s say laypeople and undergrads who plan on pursuing graduate studies. Books, papers.

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Not to state the obvious, but first on the list should be “On the Origin of Species” by a guy named Charles Darwin.

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1228/1228-h/1228-h.htm

“The Beak of the Finch” by Jonathan Weiner is a modern classic that I read in my undergrad Senior Seminar class.

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Steve Jones’ updated version is good too. I’d also recommend Dawkins’ The Ancestor’s Tale.

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Probably not relevant to what you are asking about people pursuing a career in evolutionary biology, but anything by Nick Lane.

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I second The Beak of the Finch. Fantastic.
For biogeography, The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. Highest recommendation.
For overview, I liked The Greatest Show On Earth by Dawkins, but other overviews came out around the same time and I haven’t read those (esp. Why Evolution Is True by Coyne).
For paleontology and some evo-devo, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin.

Genetics I’m less confident. I think The Selfish Gene is among the finest science books ever, but Dawkins’ followup, The Extended Phenotype, is better while more demanding. Both are about a genetic view of evolution but neither is really about genetics per se. Carl Zimmer’s She Has Her Mother’s Laugh is probably a great recommendation but I haven’t read it yet.

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I suggest Speciation by Jerry Coyne and H. Allen Orr.
Tree Thinking by David A. Baum and Stacy D. Smith.
Any of several books on evo-devo by Sean Carroll.

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What do you think of ancestors tale?

It was entertaining and can perhaps help people see what we mean by tree of life. I read it and liked it but don’t remember thinking “hey what a great way to explain phylogenetics.” But definitely a fun book to recommend to a layperson, without apologetics etc.

I think it’s a great book on the history of the human lineage (and the occasional extra branch).

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Another excellent source: Jonathan Losos’s book Improbable Destinies. If you’re interested in evolutionary convergence, including when we might expect it to happen and when we might not, try it.

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On my shelf but haven’t cracked it open yet. Thanks!

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Glad to see that Yan Wong finally got his name onto The Ancestor’s Tale as co-author, since I think he did a lot of the research. Recent printings have his name on the spine too.

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I have only read Zimmer’s articles in various publications, but he is one of my favorite science writers. His writing style is great, but he gets the highest marks for accurately portraying science. Any book by Zimmer should at least be considered.

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On a related note, can anyone recommend a good primer on population genetics?

Here is a free online regularly-updated book by a biologist at UC Davis:

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Thanks!

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You could also try Joe Felsenstein’s book.

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I used this book, thought it was very good:


Also hear good things about Matthew Hahn’s new textbook, although I haven’t read it myself:

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