195 | Richard Dawkins on Flight and Other Evolutionary Achievements


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Evolution has equipped species with a variety of ways to travel through the air — flapping, gliding, floating, not to mention jumping really high. But it hasn’t invented jet engines. What are the different ways that heavier-than-air objects might be made to fly, and why does natural selection produce some of them but not others? Richard Dawkins has a new book on the subject, Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design and Evolution. We take the opportunity to talk about other central issues in evolution: levels of selection, the extended phenotype, the role of adaptation, and how genes relate to organisms.

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Richard Dawkins received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Oxford. He is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford, where he was previously the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science. He is an internationally best-selling author, whose books include The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and The God Delusion. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature.

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