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GEERAT J. VERMEIJ is distinguished professor of geology at the University of California at Davis. Blind since the age of three, he was born in the Netherlands and came to the United States with his family in 1955. He has received the Daniel Giraud Elliot Medal from the National Academy of Sciences and was honoured as a MacArthur Fellow. He has published more than two hundred scientific papers and five books and served as editor of Evolution and Paleobiology, the foremost journals in their respective fields. He also has a world-class collection of shells and is an intrepid field naturalist and explorer.

Featured titles


How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization 


Superb writing… first-rate science… wonderful… This fabulous book deserves widespread attention by specialists and lay readers alike – starred review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY


From why grass evolved to why insects do not inhabit the sea, Vermeij answers questions most of us have forgotten even to ask – Matt Ridley, author of GENOME

A bold, brash, and magisterial account… sure to stir the pot... a compelling story to read, to debate and to enlighten – Neil Shubin, author of YOUR INNER FISH


A wonderfully rich and wise book… Vermeij is also a refreshingly original thinker. His insights… are striking and thought-provoking. An illuminating book – Nick Lane, author of LIFE ASCENDING


[Vermeij’s] naturalistic bent is coupled with literary flair – DALLAS MORNING NEWS

A transcendent view of evolution as adaptation – KIRKUS REVIEWS

An absorbing joy to readBOOKLIST

One of the master naturalists of our time celebrates the explanatory power of evolution.


Evolution has outgrown its original home in biology and geology. It is a concept that organizes, explains and predicts a multitude of unconnected facts and phenomena. Adaptation plays a part in the development not only of new species but of human civilization, too. By understanding how evolutionary theory applies to areas such as our economic system, our preparation for catastrophes and even the development of communities, we can learn not just how these systems work but also what challenges lie ahead.


Blind since the age of three, Geerat J. Vermeij has become renowned for his unique ability to recognize details in the natural world that other scientists would never have noticed. In this book, he presents a new argument for evolution’s broader importance. He explores similarities between genomes and languages, the contrasting natural economies of islands and continents, the emergence and importance of human values, the long-range effects of global warming and the perils of monopoly. He also shows that the lessons of evolution have implications for education, our system of laws and economic growth.


THE EVOLUTIONARY WORLD makes a fascinating argument about the broad-reaching influence and importance of evolution. It offers a way for us to understand and work with evolution’s principles so that we can devise better solutions for our own lives, society and the environment around us.

Publisher: Thomas Dunne/St Martin's Press (US)

Pub Date: 23 November 2010

Length: 336 pages


All rights available excluding:

World English Language (Thomas Dunne), China (Zhe Jiang University Press),  Israel (Books in the Attic), Netherlands (Nieuw Amsterdam)


For UK rights contact Kerry Nordling at St Martin’s Press