What Darwin Got Wrong, By Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

Survival of the fittest...or just lucky?

Here On Earth, By Tim Flannery

This past 150 years are widely seen as the golden age of biology – when it began to seem that all life is understandable and will soon be understood; and that what can be understood can and should be controlled for our own benefit. In 1859, in the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin first explained the mechanism of evolution "by means of natural selection". Then Gregor Mendel described the units of heredity now known as genes; then, in the early decades of the 20th century, Darwin's notions were fused with Mendel's to create "neodarwinism" – evolution conceived as a shift in the content of gene pools of populations.

The science of women and sex: Is Stephen Fry right after all?

Evolutionary theory says yes – but that's not the whole story.

Evolution book wins science prize that could soon become extinct

An account of the 10 greatest inventions of evolution has won this year's Royal Society Science Book Prize, which may be the last time the awards are given following the failure to find a sponsor.

Outside Edge (15/08/10)

Another week, another extraordinary feat of endurance. Former British Army captain Ed Stafford, 34, of Hallaton in Leicestershire has become the first man to walk the entire length of the Amazon river, some 6,000 miles from Mount Mismi in Peru to Belem in Brazil. It took 859 days – and, he says, 50,000 mosquito bites – during which time he was imprisoned for murder, chased by Ashaninka Indians and had his mouth filled with concrete by locals who thought he was prospecting for oil. But even he didn't have to face the peril that Walter Kaiser, a 59-year-old Austrian, endured while climbing the Hochkesslekopf. He tumbled 50ft after being hit by a falling goat. He felt a bit sheepish.

The Art Instinct, By Denis Dutton

Denis Dutton's big idea is that the human love of art can be explained by Darwinism. All the standard explanations of why we value art – because it's expressive, because it's informative, because of its formal qualities – are mere fragments of explanations, which only make sense in the context of our evolutionary history.

Tormented Hope, By Brian Dillon

This eloquent and incisive book about the uses of acute hypochondria takes as its focus nine noble minds trapped in bodies they treated as treacherous enemies.

Leading article: Animal spirits

Gangs of chimpanzees send stealth patrols out of their own territory into that of neighbouring chimps to kill them and take their land and food, new research from Uganda shows us. Juxtapose the ability of chimps to care tenderly for their own kind with their evident capability ruthlessly to pull an alien infant from its mother's breast and tear it to shreds and you might be tempted to see a reflection of the dark and light sides of the human psyche. The complexity of the chimp, and the base primitivism of which homo sapiens is all too capable, might suggest that the gap between the species is smaller than was for centuries supposed.

National Insect Week: The power of bugs

Scientists warn that the UK's dramatic loss of expertise in the field poses a threat to our environment and health

Where the Serpent Lives, By Ruth Padel

Having worked in many fields - poetry, non-fiction, broadcasting, conservation, the Darwin industry - Ruth Padel has now attempted a novel. Where the Serpent Lives is an ambitious work: set in London and India, it blends Padel's well-known interest in animals with the travails of 21st-century Londoners. At the centre is Rosamund, her wealthy and philandering husband Tyler, their incommunicative son Russel (named after naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who almost scooped Padel's great-great grandfather Charles Darwin) and his dog Bono.

Album: The Knife, Tomorrow, in a Year (Rabid/Brille)

The Knife are one of the strangest groups on earth, so the idea of them recording a two-disc electronic opera based on the life of Charles Darwin is conversely not that strange.

DNA test reveals the origins of the species of Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin's ancient ancestors were among the first group of Homo sapiens to leave Africa, a DNA analysis has revealed.

Did Charles Darwin get it wrong?

After all the Darwin celebrations, a controversial new book aims to undermine major parts of his scientific legacy. Peter Forbes looks at the arguments and asks scientists if the critics have a case

DVD: Creation, For retail & rental (Icon)

Creation declares in an opening caption that it's going to tell the story of how Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) came to write On the Origin of Species, but, in fact, for the bulk of the film, most of the book is already written.

The Political Gene, By Dennis Sewell

Darwinism here stands accused of complicity in genocide, promoting the abuse of vulnerable people, and overweening presumption. The first two charges in this book about "how Darwin's ideas changed politics" are historical, centring upon Nazism and the coercive eugenic measures pursued in other countries during the first half of the 20th century. The third arises from the sense that, instead of contritely withdrawing from the public arena, Darwinism now makes no attempt to hide its naked ambition to explain everything. Dennis Sewell thinks that Darwin needs to be "put back in his box".

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