The Ancestor's Tale takes us from our immediate human ancestors back through what he calls concestors, those shared with the apes, monkeys and other mammals and other vertebrates and beyond to the dim and distant microbial beginnings of life some 4 billion years ago. It is a remarkable story which is still very much in the process of being uncovered. And, of course from a scientist of Dawkins stature and reputation we get an insider's knowledge of the most up-to-date science and many of those involved in the research. And, as we have come to expect of Dawkins, it is told with a passionate commitment to scientific veracity and a nose for a good story. Dawkins's knowledge of the vast and wonderful sweep of life's diversity is admirable. Not only does it encompass the most interesting living representatives of so many groups of organisms but also the important and informative fossil ones, many of which have only been found in recent years.
Dawkins sees his journey with its reverse chronology as cast in the form of an epic pilgrimage from the present to the past [and] all roads lead to the origin of life. It is, to my mind, a sensible and perfectly acceptable approach although some might complain about going against the grain of evolution. The great benefit for the general reader is that it begins with the more familiar present and the animals nearest and dearest to usour immediate human ancestors. And then it delves back into the more remote and less familiar past with its droves of lesser known and extinct fossil forms. The whole pilgrimage is divided into 40 tales, each based around a group of organisms and discusses their role in the overall story. Genetic, morphological and fossil evidence is all taken into account and illustrated with a wealth of photos and drawings of living and fossils forms, evolutionary and distributional charts and maps through time, providing a visual compliment and complement to the text. The design also allows Dawkins to make numerous running comments and characteristic asides. There are also numerous references and a good index.-- Douglas Palmer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
All in all, this is a fascinating and enjoyable book and well worth reading.
In summary, I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in mankind's ancestors and evolution.
I very rarely put a book aside once I start - this one was in my "to be read" stack with only the first 5 pages read.
Again, a must read for anyone who's at all curious about the world around them.Published 17 days ago by Robert M. Miller
Wow; scholarship and a lifetime of research yield wonders! This is the most detailed, well researched, and passionately presented support of evolution and its workings imaginable. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Gary Tompkins
The on-topic parts of the book are insightful and interesting. Unfortunately, Dawkins can't go more than 10 pages without pausing to mock George Bush, Christians, or some other... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
What an adventure backwards in time to find the last common ground before evolutionary separation of creatures who come to be different species.. Read morePublished 1 month ago by B. Kirzner
Ok here's the thing: this is not a light read, nor is it one you can read before falling asleep. It requires an active intellectual engagement throughout. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Oppapapopp
Dawkins is an intellectual who writes brilliantly; is always interesting and informative.Published 3 months ago by B. D. Mcgee
If you want to understand the fine molecular detail of the biology of abiogensis or "hot" blood or vision or movement, I would recommend Nick Lane's book Life Ascending instead of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Robinson