Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review - The Mystery of Metamorphosis by Frank Ryan (3/5 stars)

Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Science/Non-fiction
Size: 320 pages
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: April 7, 2011
ISBN: 978-1603583411
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC through Amazon Vine
Rating: 3/5 stars

I got a copy of this book to review through the Amazon Vine program. It ended up being an interesting, and at times boring, read. If you are really interested in evolution theories that compliment or go against Darwin’s theory of evolution this might be a good book to read.

The first part of this book goes into great detail about the experiments of a guy named Williamson. Williamson has a theory that marine species did not necessarily evolve but in some cases cross-hybridized to form new species.

The second part of the book is about moths and insects and the metamorphosis they go through. This portion basically discuses the finding that insects have hormones which drive their molting and metamorphosis. The main scientist featured here is Wigglesworth.

The third part of the book details the genetic studies that were done to prove or disprove Williamson’s theory of hybridization in evolution. The results were some what inconclusive because of the limited samples that were studied.

The last part discusses some about human metamorphosis.

It is mid-level reading as far as technicality goes; I am a chemist and understood most of what the author was talking about. It does help to have some basic theory of biology and the theory of evolution in understanding the experiments and theories discussed. This is definitely not an easy read, but also not one that you need a PhD in Biology to understand.

It is a somewhat interesting book, but a bit wandering. It leaves one theory and then goes to another, the author does attempt to bring the theories together at the end. This book might be of some interest to those interested in the theory of evolution. As a non-biology major I could follow much of the book, but got a bit bored when things got too in depth.

The examples focus mainly on marine and insect life. There are some fascinating examples in here and some neat facts. The theory of of cross-hybridization and hormones as drivers of metamorphosis is kind of repeated over and over.

It seemed to me that the book is basically lauding Williamson’s work and how it is finally showing some merit as other scientists do more DNA mapping and genetic studies.

Overall an okay read for the layman. If you have an interest in the theory of evolution I would recommend this. It does a decent job of summarizing the work of those who are trying to add to or elaborate on Darwin’s theory of evolution. There are some interesting facts in here and the background behind the scientists doing the work is included. The book reads more like a non-fiction read than a text book so that is nice, but it is definitely not a quick or easy read.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- 150+ Books Reading Challenge
- TBR Pile Reading Challenge

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