Eros and Evolution

Eros and Evolution

A Natural Philosophy of Sex

Book - 1995
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Baker & Taylor
Examining the fascinating topic of why humans reproduce through sex, an evolutionary biologist explores other life forms that do not practice sexual mating or reproduce asexually and presents his own theories as to why and how sex evolved.

Book News
Michod (ecology and evolutionary biology, U. of Arizona) spins out and elaborates a theory not only of why sex exists but also of why it matters that sex exists. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Blackwell North Amer
A bee lands on a blossom, a stag rears back his head in bellowing, a human couple lies exhausted in passionate embrace. The flower, the deer, the human, even the unseen virus - they all must have sex. But why? When we think of sex, we may think of the pleasure and pain it causes us. But there is a more fundamental problem of sex. It is the unresolved question of why sex exists at all. What are the consequences of sex that make it so important to us and so widespread in nature? The answer to this question lies not in our own attitudes and feelings about sex, but deep in our evolutionary past.
Why did sex evolve as the means for reproduction for many species? Sex requires a huge commitment of time, energy, and resources, and it can even be physically dangerous. Sex is not the only path to reproduction - simple life forms do not practice sexual mating; offspring are produced by simple cell division. There are examples of higher life forms that practice asexual reproduction, in which the female reproduces alone. "Why sex?" is a question that was first raised by Charles Darwin in his Origin of the Species, and the answer has eluded biologists for over a century. In Eros and Evolution Richard Michod, a leading evolutionary biologist, begins his exploration into this question by pointing out the fatal flaws in the widely accepted "variation view," that sex is necessary for producing more diverse offspring than could be produced asexually. Chief among those flaws is the fact that sex undoes what it creates, producing a beneficial new combination of genes in one generation only to break it apart in the next. Michod argues that genetic variation and reproduction of organisms are side effects but not the sole purpose of sex. According to his revolutionary theory, sex has a more far-reaching mission: to repair and overcome the genetic errorsdamages and mutations - that threaten life. With lucid explanations and intriguing excursions into our evolutionary past, this book shows how sex maintains the well-being of genes and in so doing, provides for the immortality of life itself.
Yet, why sex exists is only part of the fascinating story in Eros and Evolution. This book also considers why it matters that sex exists. Michod deconstructs Darwin to explore such questions as "Why are there species?" and "Do organisms - as wonderfully designed as they are - really matter in evolution, or are they merely vehicles for the perpetuation of genes?" In the process he shows how what began as a necessary but mechanical process of gene repair has ended up forever changing the landscape of the living world.

Publisher: Helix Books, Addison-Wesley, c1995
ISBN: 9780201407549
020140754X
Branch Call Number: 575.5 Mic

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