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The Ancestor's Tale - A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life
The Ancestor's Tale - A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life
Dawkins, Richard
THE ANCESTOR'S TALE is a pilgrimage: a journey of four billion years. We, modern human beings, are the pilgrims, and we are travelling back in time to seek out our ancestors. Simultaneously, every other living creature - animal, plant, fungus, bacterium - is setting off on its own journey with the same mission. As we travel down the path of time, we meet up with other bands of pilgrims with whom we share a common ancestor. Onwards we go, squeezing precariously through mass extinctions, meeting increasingly distant common ancestors. Eventually we pass that fundamental turning point for life on Earth, the combining of a single-celled protozoan-to-be with a bacterium to form a cell with a nucleus. Once we have done so, all living things take the final stretch of the pilgrimage together to the origin of life. This is the majestic narrative that holds together this remarkable book. Yet the chronicle of the journey is itself an envelope for the collection of tales told by these pilgrims. These tales cover the processe involved in the unfolding of life on Earth. Enormously rich and diverse, they incorporate the results of recent research which uses the study of DNA to give some startling insights into evolutionary history. The fundamental unifying principle of evolution underlies every tale, and binds them together into this unique history - our history, and that of all living things. Central to this book is the tracing of our ancestors and our connections with other living creatures. THE ANCESTOR'S TALE shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.
Second hand Hardback

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