Preface to the Second Revised (Czech) Edition

Over the five years that have elapsed since the first edition of Evolutionary Biology, I have anticipated, with a certain sense of anxiety, which of the wisdoms that I incorporated into the text of this university textbook would be transferred by time and the results of new studies to the category of non-wisdoms, and I have simultaneously regularly recorded the mistakes to which my attention has been drawn in a more or less decent and more or less malicious manner by readers from amongst students and colleagues.Simultaneously, I collected new results of interesting studies, illustrating the evolutionary processes described in the individual chapters of the book.I have included a major portion of these results, together with the necessary corrections, in the new edition of Evolutionary Biology.  The extent of the changes can be roughly estimated, for example, from the fact that the list of references has expanded by about 10% - thus, the revision is not particularly fundamental but the text has nonetheless been substantially updated.

            In the time that has expired since publication of the original version of the book, the Academia publishing house has issued an abbreviated version under the title Introduction to Evolutionary Biology and also the popular book Frozen Evolution or That is Not the Way It Is, Mr. Darwin.I am of the opinion that all three books are very complementary.This monograph remains the basic reference handbook in the field and can also be used as a textbook for advanced courses in evolutionary biology.The Introduction to Evolutionary Biology is intended for university students in a basic course of evolutionary biology; here, some specialized sections have been omitted and the references to literature sources and the text have been abbreviated and simplified.The Introduction to Evolutionary Biology is also intended for inquisitive lay persons who are not afraid to fight their way through a text that is intended mainly for biology students.Frozen Evolution is intended mainly for persons interested in evolutionary biology and the sciences in general.It is written (I hope) in an entertaining way so that it can be easily understood by anyone with basic knowledge of secondary school biology – other people could also understand it, although perhaps with some difficulties.On the basis of “reports from the field”, I can state that a number of non-biologist readers of Frozen Evolution have become sufficiently interested in the subject to read the Introduction to Evolutionary Biology or even Evolutionary Biology itself.

            In conclusion, I would like to thank the attentive readers of the first edition of this book who pointed out errors (the penta-valent carbon in Fig. III.5 was really disgraceful) and students who, during examinations, involuntarily, and frequently to their detriment, drew my attention to parts of the text that were not readily comprehensible.Work on this edition was supported by Grant 0021620828 of the Ministry of Education and Sports.


In Prague, 10 March 2009

Jaroslav Flegr

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more
Draft translation from: Evoluční biologie, 2. vydání (Evolutionary biology, 2nd edition), J. Flegr, Academia Prague 2009. The translation was not done by biologist, therefore any suggestion concerning proper scientific terminology and language usage are highly welcomed. You can send your comments to flegratcesnet [dot] cz. Thank you.