The Monkey's Voyage: How Improbable Journeys Shaped the History of Life 1st Edition
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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)
Entertaining and enlightening.... Beyond the actual science, de Queiroz brings insight into the nature of scientific discourse itself.”
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 tropescontinental drift, plate tectonics, molecular dating, and mass extinctionstogether 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] lively book...his tale of how the world was populated willy-nillyand of our own fumbling attempts to understand itmakes 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 livesas 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.”
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.”
- 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
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,452,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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For those who are considering a career in science or anyone interested in the culture of science, this book provides useful examples of how individuals establish fiefdoms that adversely affect the elegance that science research can be.
The general field of the book is that of biogeography – the science of how life forms that we observe today got to be where they are on the globe. The scientific explanations fall into two main classes: Those that use the movement of tectonic plates as the primary mechanism (called vicariance) and those that appeal to rare and improbable long distance dispersal mechanisms, such as chance ocean transport by naturally occurring rafts of vegetation. Throughout the later part of the 20th Century, vicariance explanations were dominant. More recently, long distance dispersal has become more widely accepted, although not to the exclusion of vicariance.
Professor Queiroz presents the story of how this change occurred from two points of view: The scientific evidence and the associated cultural changes in the scientific community. The predominant and compelling new evidence comes from DNA analysis which has provided clearer ancestral relationships and more reliable dates, some of which are inconsistent with a purely vicariance approach.
If all this sounds a little dry and overspecialized, in Professor Queiroz’s hands it sparkles with life and enthusiasm. He covers the full range of multicellular life from plants and insects to large mammals and discusses implications that range from the detailed to the philosophical.
After reading this book, I not only have a better understanding of biogeography but I also have renewed confidence in the scientific process which, over time, is able to correct human irrationality and keep heading towards the truth. In this, science is unique: That is why it is so important.
Top reviews from other countries
There is a bit of subtext philosophy as an illustrative parallel to which we can all relate. That subtext brings to the front the role of chance in our own lives. Where would we be if.... If we had married a different person, taken a different job, and on and on. Mostly stuff we don't want to dwell on too much.
But, if we can accept that chance plays a large role in our own short lives then accepting the role of chance in the distribution of the world's biota, improbable as we think the chance might be, is quite easy.