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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.
The most consistently accurate authority of scientific facts.Published 29 days ago by Dr. Albert C. Vinci
This is an absolutely wonderful book: witty, beautiful English, stimulating, exciting, in the manner of very few (Dawkins, Gould, Wilson, ...). Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Smith
Reviewed by Dr. Andrea Diem-Lane
Dawkins begins his tale by explaining that humans are pattern, meaning seeking creatures. Read more
Would it be too much to ask that there be an introductory chapter that introduces concepts like alleles and chromosomes? Probably. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jtown
Classic Dawkins - to somehow cram such a tome's worth of detail into a book you can hold in one hand - when a lesser author and scientist would require a library. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Michael Smorenburg
If you can still read very long books, this one is a winner for anyone interested in evolution. In an easy conversational style, author Dawkins takes the reader from now all the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by R. Z. Halleson
A slow read, a complicated subject; but worth the money and effort.Published 6 months ago by Patrick Ireland
Thank you for the accurate description. It's in perfect shape!Published 6 months ago by Amanda Stephenson