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Darwin's Backyard

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   14.5 hour(s)
Publication date: 09/05/2017

Darwin's Backyard

How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681687957
Digital Download ISBN:9781681687964


In Darwin's Backyard, James T. Costa tells how Darwin found universal evolutionary truths in simple yet ingenious home-spun experiments.

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Product Description

James T. Costa takes listeners on a journey from Darwin's youth and travels on the HMS Beagle to Down House, his bustling home of forty years. To test his insights into evolution, Darwin devised an astonishing array of hands-on experiments using his garden and greenhouse, surrounding meadows and woodlands, even taking over the cellar, study, yard, and hallways of his home-turned-field-station. Darwin engaged his children, friends, and neighbors as assistants and encouraged fellow naturalists to follow his lead. His inventive experiments yielded universal truths about nature and evidence for his revolutionary arguments in On the Origin of Species and other watershed works. We accompany Darwin in his myriad pursuits against the backdrop of his enduring marriage, chronic illness, grief at the loss of three children, and joy in scientific revelation. At each chapter's end, Costa shows how we too can investigate the wonders of nature at work, with directions on how to re-create Darwin's experiments.


“So much more than a biography. . . . [Darwin's Backyard] is accessible and fun.” —Booklist, Starred Review

“[Darwin's Backyard] takes readers on a journey . . . revealing how [Darwin] found universal evolutionary truths in simple yet ingenious homespun experiments.” —Publishers Weekly

"James Costa’s entertaining Darwin's Backyard . . . draws on the often untidy experiments Darwin carried out at Down House (bees and barnacles, potatoes and pigeons) to show how he built his theory of natural selection — and to suggest DIY home experiments for the reader; a messy win." —New York Times

"This is an unusual look at the daily creative life of a great scientist, with opportunities to dig in and observe the workings of nature first hand using methods very similar to his own." —Shelf Awareness

Author Bio

James T. Costa is a professor of biology at Western Carolina University, executive director of Highlands Biological Station, and a trustee of the Charles Darwin Trust. He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.