As a follow up to yesterday’s post on Transitional Fossils I thought I would highlight another resource put together by the journal “Nature” that brings together 15 short easily read articles on evolutionary evidences along with references and additional resources. Given the name “15 Evolutionary Gems” they have set the stage to showcase some insteresting and foundational topics and they do indeed deliver. A rundown of the contents is as tantalising as I would expect from such a document as you can see below:

Gems from the fossil record
1 Land-living ancestors of whales
2 From water to land
3 The origin of feathers
4 The evolutionary history of teeth
5 The origin of the vertebrate skeleton
Gems from habitats
6 Natural selection in speciation
7 Natural selection in lizards
8 A case of co-evolution
9 Differential dispersal in wild birds
10 Selective survival in wild guppies
11 Evolutionary history matters
Gems from molecular processes
12 Darwin’s Galapagos finches
13 Microevolution meets macroevolution
14 Toxin resistance in snakes and clams
15 Variation versus stability

So from the transition of animals from water to land to the evolution of feathers, the basis of new species to the introduction of sudden changes in animal body plans and everything in between they have it covered. Whether you are just interested in a quick read of a springboard to in depth study this is a great resource. Each topic is covered in less than a single page with usually only two to three paragraphs of text. As such it is a very easy read and certainly does not bludgeon you with overly technical language.

Give it a try, I think you’ll be pleasently surprised.


Yesterday: Transitional Fossils    Tomorrow: Evolution Everywhere