A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of by Kenneth L. Gosner

By Kenneth L. Gosner

Greater than 1,000 illustrations, prepared based on visible similarities, exhibit plant and animal species of the Atlantic Coast from the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras. This advisor contains info on the right way to find every one species through geographic diversity, tidal variety, tidal point, season, topography, and weather.

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Additional resources for A Field Guide to the Atlantic Seashore: From the Bay of Fundy to Cape Hatteras (Peterson Field Guide)

Sample text

All the lineages of life—ancient as well as modern—can thus be thought of as forming an evolutionary tree, whose innumerable twigs can be traced back through time to a single common ancestor. At every point on the tree, organisms were successful enough to leave offspring. The tree of life is therefore a tree of unbroken success. A more provocative way of thinking about adaptation is to say that living things are well fitted to their surroundings because they have evolutionarily formulated and tested an adequate hypothesis about their situation.

The paradox of coexisting rational and irrational styles of thought is resolved when we consider the criterion of success of adaptive hypotheses. David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, puts it this way: "Rationality is not the gold standard against which all other forms of thought are to be judged. " Whether we like it or not, it is what works that matters, not always what is verifiably true. The hypotheses that organisms and science reveal are approximations to evidence-based reality.

The specimens that Jim Estes and his fellow divers brought up, by contrast, were often thick and robust, consistent with the presence and effects of predatory sea otters. If the Pliocene environments near Bering Strait, located thirteen to fourteen degrees of latitude north of the Aleutians, were anything like the shores we visited along that island chain, the ancestors of the tidal species that spread into the warm Arctic and Atlantic beginning some three-and-a-half million years ago would have been adapted to a regime of abundant food and little interference from predators, whereas species that lived below the tidal zone would have included intense predation as part of their adaptive hypothesis.

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