Fact and Fantasy: The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner

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Vol: 3, Issue: 1

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McKinzey, Michelle
Peter Grant; Rosemary Grant; Jonathan Weiner; evolution; Charles Darwin; Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
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The sun sets on a small island off the coast of South America. Thirteen species of Galapagos finches settle in their various homes for the evening. Peter and Rosemary Grant along with their crew settle in, as well, and you feel like you are right there with them thanks to Jonathan Weiner. Weiner presents the story of Darwin’s finches and the Grants as if it were just that: a fabulous story. It’s no wonder, however, that Weiner’s book is a Pulitzer Prize winner.Along with the Grants’ tale, Weiner ties in Darwin’s theories of Evolution and Natural Selection, examples outside of the finches, and even philosophy making the book both a key source of public understanding and an entertaining read.Weiner reconstructs the research of the Grants’ twenty years after they first discover their amazing finches and follows them back and forth through time in his interviews. While the Grants and their colleagues struggle to discern exactly what the finches mean, we struggle along with them. Bit by bit, Darwin’s finches reveal to the Grants that evolution is not a slow process, in so doing; other common misconceptions about evolution are cleared up.