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The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins first edition 1982

The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins first edition 1982


Oxford: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1982


8vo., bright green boards, backstrip and upper cover lettered in silver, with ISBN printed to lower; black, green and white dust jacket designed by Perry Smith; pp. [v], vi-viii, [iv], 307, [i]; a fine copy, almost as fresh as the day it was printed, save for a couple of very small spots to the edges, and pencil price now erased from the ffep. 


First edition. 


The controversial evolutionary biologist and fervent atheist Richard Dawkins rose to fame in 1976 with his publication of The Selfish Gene. In it, he builds on George C. Williams’s theory of Natural Selection as a way of expressing a gene-centred view of evolution. The Extended Phenotype introduces a new biological concept, and is considered to be a direct sequel to this work. Dawkins argues that phenotype (the set of observable characteristics of an organism) should not be limited simply to biological processes such as tissue growth, but extended out to include the effects that a gene has upon its environment, both inside and outside the body of an organism. Although the book is intended for professional biologists, it was Dawkins’s hope that it could also be read by the layperson not well versed in evolutionary biology, and as such he includes a glossary of technical terms to the rear of the text. Despite this fact, it was still considered to be a technical work, and therefore published in much smaller numbers than The Selfish Gene. First editions in this condition, therefore, which have not been read or used in a practical setting, are becoming increasingly scarce. 


The Extended Phenotype is now considered to be one of Dawkins’s principal contributions to the field of evolutionary biology. 

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