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Evolutionary Bio Classics:

This is a list of books and manuscripts that I believe doctoral level evolutionary biology students should be familiar with. There are several of these lists out there on the internet, for instance:


  1. Endler, J. A. 1986. Natural Selection in the Wild
  2. Fisher, R. A. 1930. The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection:
  3. Williams, G. C. 1966. Adaptation and Natural Selection


  1. Boag, P. T., and P. R. Grant. 1981. Intense natural selection in a population of Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos. Science 214: 82-85
  2. Gould, S. J. and R. C. Lewontin. 1979. The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: a critique of the adaptationist programme. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. 205:581-598.
  3. Grant, P. R. and B. R. Grant. 2002. Unpredictable evolution in a 30-year study of Darwin’s Finches. Science 296:707-711.
  4. Hamilton W. D. and M. Zuk. 1982. Heritable true fitness and bright birds: a role for parasites? Science 218:384-387.
  5. Orr, H. A., and J. A. Coyne. 1992. The genetics of adaptation: a reassessment. American Naturalist 140:725-742
  6. M. Z. Ludwig, et al., "Evidence for stabilizing selection in a eukaryotic enhancer element," Nature 403 (2000), 564-567
  7. A. L. Hughes and M. Nei, "Patter of nucleotide substitutions at major histocompatibility complex class I loci reveals overdominant selection," Nature 335 (1988), 167-170.
  8. N. A. Moran, "Accelerated evolution and Muller's Ratchet in Endosymbiotic bacteria," PNAS 93 (1996), 2873-2878.
  9. J. H. McDonald and M. Kreitman, "Adaptive protein evolution at the AHD locus in Drosophila," Nature 351 (1991), 652-654
  10. T. Miyata and T. Yasunaga, "Rapidly evolving mouse alpha globin related pseudogene and its evolutionary history," PNAS 78 (1981), 450-453.
  11. Tomoko Ohta, "Slightly Deleterious Mutant Substitutions in Evolution," Nature 246 (1973), 96-98
  12. Bateman (1948) “Intra-sexual selection in Drosophila”
  13. Lewontin 1970 The Units of Selection
  15. Trivers&Wilard 1973
  16. Losos 2009 Adaptation and diversification on islands
  17. Emlen 2012 A Mechanism of Extreme Growth and Reliable Signaling in Sexually Selected Ornaments and Weapons


  1. Trivers, R. L. 1974. Parent-offspring conflict. American Zoologist 14:249-264
  2. Trivers, R. L. 1971. The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Quarterly Review of Biology 46:35-57
  3. Mary Jane West-Eberhard (1983) Sexual Selection, Social Competition, and Speciation The Quarterly Review of Biology Vol. 58, No. 2
  4. Axelrod and Hamilton 1981. The Evolution of Cooperation.
  5. Emlen and Oring 1969 Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems