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The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

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The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Cover

ISBN13: 9780618005833
ISBN10: 0618005838
Condition: Underlined
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

"Despite my qualms with the 'Canterbury' chapter and Dawkins's general emphasis on heredity over organismal biology, The Ancestor's Tale is still an engaging history of life on our backwater planet....The pilgrimage metaphor describes the book well. Like a pilgrimage, the book is not an exhaustive exploration through every corner of evolutionary history; it is a journey along one particular trajectory. As a result of that chosen course, some groups of organisms get short shrift. However, also like a pilgrimage, the journey provides enlightenment on ourselves and our place in the world."
Recommended by Doug, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views.

Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on earth. As our pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the very first primordial organism.

Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more.

The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of all living things.

Review:

"One of Dawkins's best: a big, almost encyclopedic compendium bursting with information and ideas." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Dawkins...is an excellent guide, both a profoundly original scientific thinker and a marvelously adept explainer." Carl Zimmer, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[T]he book's scope and provocativeness are truly worthy of epic treatment, and Dawkins is skilled in simultaneously conveying cutting-edge science to the public and also contributing to its advancement." Library Journal

Synopsis:

Renowned biologist and thinker Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments to his own provocative views, and loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Synopsis:

With unparalleled wit, clarity, and intelligence, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists, has introduced countless readers to the wonders of science in works such as The Selfish Gene. Now, in The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins offers a masterwork: an exhilarating reverse tour through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life four billion years ago. Throughout the journey Dawkins spins entertaining, insightful stories and sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection, and extinction. The Ancestor's Tale is at once an essential education in evolutionary theory and a riveting read.

About the Author

Richard Dawkins, born in Nairobi in 1941, is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford. He is one of the most influential scientist of out time. He lives in Oxford, England.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS

The Conceit of Hindsight 1

The General Prologue 12

The Pilgrimage Begins 26

The Farmers Tale 27

The Cro-Magnons Tale 35

Rendezvous 0 All Humankind 37

The Tasmanians Tale 41

Eves Tale 48

archaic homo sapiens62

The Neanderthals Tale 64

ergasts 66

The Ergasts Tale 71

habilines 75

The Handymans Tale 77

ape-men 86

Little Foots Tale 90

Epilogue to Little Foots Tale 95

Rendezvous 1 Chimpanzees 100

The Bonobos Tale 104

Rendezvous 2 Gorillas 106

The Gorillas Tale 108

Rendezvous 3 Orang Utans 112

The Orang Utans Tale 115

Rendezvous 4 Gibbons 119

The Gibbons Tale 123

Rendezvous 5 Old World Monkeys 137

Rendezvous 6 New World Monkeys 141

The Howler Monkeys Tale 145

Rendezvous 7 Tarsiers 156

Rendezvous 8 Lemurs, Bushbabies and Their Kin 160

The Aye-Ayes Tale 163

THE GREAT CRETACEOUS CATASTROPHE 169

Rendezvous 9 Colugos and Tree Shrews 174

The Colugos Tale 177

Rendezvous 10 Rodents and Rabbitkind 179

The Mouses Tale 183

The Beavers Tale 186

Rendezvous 11 Laurasiatheres 192

The Hippos Tale 196

Epilogue to the Hippos Tale 202

The Seals Tale 203

Rendezvous 12 Xenarthrans 212

The Armadillos Tale 212

Rendezvous 13 Afrotheres 217

Rendezvous 14 Marsupials 223

The Marsupial Moles Tale 227

Rendezvous 15 Monotremes 231

The Duckbills Tale 235

What the Star-Nosed Mole Said to the Duckbilled Platypus 243

MAMMAL-LIKE REPTILES 247

Rendezvous 16 Sauropsids 254

Prologue to the Galapagos Finchs Tale 257

The Galapagos Finchs Tale 260

The Peacocks Tale 263

The Dodos Tale 273

The Elephant Birds Tale 278

Epilogue to the Elephant Birds Tale 287

Rendezvous 17 Amphibians 293

The Salamanders Tale 299

The Narrowmouths Tale 311

The Axolotls Tale 313

Rendezvous 18 Lungfish 320

The Lungfishs Tale 322

Rendezvous 19 Coelacanths 325

Rendezvous 20 Ray-Finned Fish 328

The Leafy Sea Dragons Tale 330

The Pikes Tale 332

The Mudskippers Tale 334

The Cichlids Tale 336

The Blind Cave Fishs Tale 344

The Flounders Tale 347

Rendezvous 21 Sharks and their kin 349

Rendezvous 22 Lampreys and Hagfish 354

The Lampreys Tale 359

Rendezvous 23 Lancelets 362

The Lancelets Tale 364

Rendezvous 24 Sea Squirts 367

Rendezvous 25 Ambulacrarians 372

Rendezvous 26 Protostomes 377

The Ragworms Tale 386

The Brine Shrimps Tale 390

The Leaf Cutters Tale 395

The Grasshoppers Tale 397

The Fruit Flys Tale 414

The Rotifers Tale 424

The Barnacles Tale 433

The Velvet Worms Tale 436

Epilogue to the Velvet Worms Tale 449

Rendezvous 27 Acoelomorph Flatworms 458

Rendezvous 28 Cnidarians 463

The Jellyfishs Tale 467

The Polypifers Tale 469

Rendezvous 29 Ctenophores 477

Rendezvous 30 Placozoans 480

Rendezvous 31 Sponges 483

The Sponges Tale 486

Rendezvous 32 Choanoflagellates 488

The Choanoflagellates Tale 490

Rendezvous 33 DRIPs 493

Rendezvous 34 Fungi 497

Rendezvous 35 Amoebozoans 502

Rendezvous 36 Plants 506

The Cauliflowers Tale 510

The Redwoods Tale 514

Rendezvous 37 Uncertain 524

The Mixotrichs Tale 529

The Great Historic Rendezvous 536

Rendezvous 38 Archaea 540

Rendezvous 39 Eubacteria 543

The Rhizobiums Tale 543

Taqs Tale 553

Canterbury 559

The Hosts Return 582

Further Reading 617

Notes to the Phylogenies 619

Bibliography 624

Illustration Credits 643

Index 646

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

t.magnuson, December 7, 2008 (view all comments by t.magnuson)
Who would Mr Dawkins be without a God to mock? The title of his new book reveals much, alluding as it does to a motley band of believers journeying to worship at Canterbury Cathedral.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(52 of 111 readers found this comment helpful)
mnbtancourt, November 24, 2008 (view all comments by mnbtancourt)
When you have doubts on any assignment, the first thought is to look for help. Instinctively, your mind lead you to the experienced, educated person, and you know is the right professional or expert in the subject. I would not be accepting religious point of views or explanation in front of every thing in life. No, I want my mind and ideas to navigate in the critical thinking ship on open sea. I do not want to navigate in a pond with a huge ship and look for answers. In USA, we have a critical, profound dilema, the arcaics concepts of religion invading our generations, washing out the possibilities to develop our brains. Let's go to clarify our doubts about the origin of life and of our own existence in The Ancestor's sTale Book. Thanks, Mr. Dawkins
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780618005833
Author:
Dawkins, Richard
Publisher:
Mariner Books
Other:
Wong, Yan
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Philosophy
Subject:
History
Subject:
Evolution
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution
Subject:
Life Sciences - Evolution - Human
Subject:
Evolution (Biology) -- History.
Subject:
Evolution (Biology) -- Philosophy.
Subject:
Biology-Evolution
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
A Pilgrimage to the
Publication Date:
October 2004
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
130 b/w images in inserts, plus 20 diagr
Pages:
688
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.56 in 1.97 lb

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Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » Biology » Evolution
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Evolution

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Used Hardcover
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$12.50 In Stock
Product details 688 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618005833 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

"Despite my qualms with the 'Canterbury' chapter and Dawkins's general emphasis on heredity over organismal biology, The Ancestor's Tale is still an engaging history of life on our backwater planet....The pilgrimage metaphor describes the book well. Like a pilgrimage, the book is not an exhaustive exploration through every corner of evolutionary history; it is a journey along one particular trajectory. As a result of that chosen course, some groups of organisms get short shrift. However, also like a pilgrimage, the journey provides enlightenment on ourselves and our place in the world."

"Review" by , "One of Dawkins's best: a big, almost encyclopedic compendium bursting with information and ideas."
"Review" by , "Dawkins...is an excellent guide, both a profoundly original scientific thinker and a marvelously adept explainer."
"Review" by , "[T]he book's scope and provocativeness are truly worthy of epic treatment, and Dawkins is skilled in simultaneously conveying cutting-edge science to the public and also contributing to its advancement."
"Synopsis" by , Renowned biologist and thinker Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments to his own provocative views, and loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
"Synopsis" by ,
With unparalleled wit, clarity, and intelligence, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists, has introduced countless readers to the wonders of science in works such as The Selfish Gene. Now, in The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins offers a masterwork: an exhilarating reverse tour through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life four billion years ago. Throughout the journey Dawkins spins entertaining, insightful stories and sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection, and extinction. The Ancestor's Tale is at once an essential education in evolutionary theory and a riveting read.
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