Exploring the Literature
Evolutionary biology covers a very wide range, as we hope this book shows. By providing the fundamental explanation for diversity and adaptation, evolution permeates the whole of biology. It informs our understanding of human nature and human origins and has practical applications in medicine. Evolutionary biology also influences far-flung fields, such as computer science and economics, through analogy with natural selection. Thus, diverse communities of researchers contribute to a large and fragmented literature. This section of the Web site will aid in exploring the subject.
Evolution provides a framework that summarizes the history, current knowledge, and outstanding questions of the field. Although we have not cluttered the text with references, it is essential that the reader be able to find sources for the examples in the book and to move out to explore the wider literature. The extraordinary success of science in giving us reliable and objective knowledge of the world relies on its web of information being open and accessible to all. We expect that, at least in advanced courses, the interested reader will go beyond what is in the text to grapple with the original material on which it is based. Here, we outline the several ways of doing this.
These notes provide sources for all of the examples in the book. They are organized under the same concept heads as in the book and can also be searched. The Web Notes also include boxes that give more detailed explanations of some issues.
Search Engines and Databases
There are several sophisticated search engines and databases that may take you directly to electronic copies of relevant articles. Access usually requires a subscription by your library, but some databases and journals have open access. These databases allow you to search for papers and books that cite specific articles, thus building a network that connects related sources. We give further details here.
Our reference list gives an idea of the range of journals that publish evolutionary biology. For further guidance, see here.
A good book gives a coherent overview of the subject. We have listed many books in the Further Reading provided at the end of every chapter. We have brought these lists together here, with some additions. There are several ways to find books on the Internet, which we summarize here.
An extraordinary number of Web sites relate to evolution. The majority of them deal with the relationship between evolution and religion.
Several societies focus on evolutionary studies; these usually publish a journal and hold annual or biennial conferences.
A wide variety of software packages are related to evolution. Here is a selection. Others may be found on the Google directory.