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The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 ratings

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Hardcover, Illustrated, January 7, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Even Darwin thought it far-fetched—that is, his proposal that ocean-crossing is why similar species that can’t swim or fly are found on oceanic islands and both sides of great oceans. But ocean-crossing how? On what? So when plate tectonics was accepted, some of his successor scientists leaped upon it, arguing that the splitting up of the supercontinent Gondwanaland was how terrestrial cousins wound up on widely separated dry lands. Problem is, molecular dating indicates that the big breakup occurred tens of millions of years before those specific cousins or even their common ancestors evolved. Hence, for the better part of the last hundred years, debate has raged between dispersalists (ocean-crossing advocates) and vicariance biogeographers (continental-drift advocates). Evolutionary biologist de Queiroz is unapologetically dispersalist but hardly triumphalist about it. As he tells the story, which is as much about the discipline of biogeography as about the dispute, there is no reason for either side to ever proclaim victory. The earth’s animals and plants consist of both Gondwanan relics and plenty—indeed, a preponderance—of species that have developed ever since the present continents and islands formed. Deciding which are which constitutes a story full of intriguing discoveries that de Queiroz, a fluent and spellbinding popular-science writer, agglomerates into the narrative spine of a book brimming with fascination. --Ray Olson

Review

The Monkey's Voyage is a captivating look at one of biogeography's most puzzling problems, with just the right balance between science and scientific drama.”
Science News

“Specialists and nonspecialists alike will enjoy de Queiroz's quirky, personable style and wide-ranging examples.”
Chronicle of Higher Education

“(Alan de Queiroz) delights in telling the tales of extraordinary journeys by unlikely critters – snakes, frogs, flightless birds and even monkeys – and with these tales he reveals ‘a world shaped by miracles.'”
Times Higher Education Supplement (UK)

“Thoroughly engrossing”
Maclean's (Canada)

“Entertaining and enlightening.... Beyond the actual science, de Queiroz brings insight into the nature of scientific discourse itself.”
Publishers Weekly

“A story full of intriguing discoveries that de Queiroz, a fluent and spellbinding popular-science writer, agglomerates into the narrative spine of a book brimming with fascination.”
Booklist, starred review-

“A fascinating exploration of the field of biogeography.... An excellent storyteller, de Queiroz dramatically weaves the historical development of various scientific tropes—continental drift, plate tectonics, molecular dating, and mass extinctions—together with his own research interests and details of his far-flung travels.... [A] provocative book.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Just how plants and animals separated by oceans have reached other continents, whether by riding on shifting tectonic plates or by their own long-distance travel, is not only a basic question of biogeography but of life on earth. De Queiroz discusses the issue brilliantly and in delightfully lucid prose.... The Monkey's Voyage is the most fascinating and intriguing evolutionary drama I have read in a long time. I recommend the book highly to all who like scientific mysteries and have an interest in our planet.”
George Schaller, field biologist, winner of the National Book Award, and author of The Serengeti Lion

“I have read it [The Monkey's Voyage] more or less straight through being unable to put it down easily. It is a rare mix such as we had in Steve Gould of brilliant science and great narrative ability.”
Robin Fox, Professor at Rutgers University, and author of The Imperial Animal-

A New York Times Editor's Choice

“[A] lively book...his tale of how the world was populated willy-nilly—and of our own fumbling attempts to understand it—makes for a splendid intellectual history.”
Wall Street Journal

“[An] entertaining book.... De Queiroz writes in a pleasant, relaxed style.... It reads like an eclectic scrapbook, full of interesting bits from hither and yon.”
New York Times Book Review

“Lucidly and captivatingly written, [de Queiroz's] narrative merges snapshots from his personal perspective with detailed descriptions of key players from the past two centuries, their characters, and lives—as if the author knew them personally...we found The Monkey's Voyage a joy to read and a great example of how a potentially dry scientific debate can be presented to attract a broad readership.”
Science

“In his engaging new book, The Monkey's Voyage, de Queiroz makes the case that the vibrant and distinctive biological communities we see today were created by organisms rafting across oceans and soaring through the atmosphere.”
Washington Post-

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.34 pounds
  • Hardcover : 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780465020515
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0465020515
  • Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Publisher : Basic Books; 1st edition (January 7, 2014)
  • ASIN : 0465020518
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 55 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
55 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on January 18, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on July 8, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on May 14, 2014
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Top reviews from other countries

meadow
5.0 out of 5 stars utterly fascinating and I will read it again
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 14, 2017
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Dan Earle
4.0 out of 5 stars Telling story - more than it seems
Reviewed in Canada on June 18, 2014
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Olivier
5.0 out of 5 stars Un ouvrage passionnant sur la bio-géographie et un brin d'épistémologie
Reviewed in France on December 21, 2018
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RH
5.0 out of 5 stars Biogeography
Reviewed in Canada on March 29, 2019
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フヤチン
5.0 out of 5 stars 多岐にわたる奇跡的な生物種の移動の事例が盛りだくさん読み応え十分。
Reviewed in Japan on May 1, 2018
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