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The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life (2004)

de Richard Dawkins

Altres autors: Yan Wong (Col·laborador)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
4,351742,695 (4.22)2 / 110
The 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 our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "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 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 life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.… (més)
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Grup TemaMissatgesÚltim missatge 
 Evolve!: The Pilgrimage Begins - Ancestor's Tale43 no llegits / 43richardbsmith, març 2013
 Evolve!: The Ancestor's Tale64 no llegits / 64MartyBrandon, febrer 2013

» Mira també 110 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 74 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Good reference book for understanding biology. A mine of information well presented. ( )
  Novak | Sep 21, 2023 |
An excellent, rather mathematical, doorstop of a book. So far, I have read only through "Rendezvous 0: The Tasmanian's Tale". This goes into detail about how estimates can be made of the time when the first shared ancestor of all living humans lived (Dawkins calls this Chang 1) and the time when all animals can be subdivided into two classes, those who are the ancestors of all living humans, and those who are the ancestors of no living humans (Chang 2). I've previously read Dawkins's "The Greatest Show on Earth", but that is a lighter, less mathematical book, and his discussion of the same topic in that book just ended up confusing me. He points out that the simplest mathematical model, which has assumptions of a completely stable population and random mating would put the earliest human "Concestor" as having lived around 500 AD, which is clearly wrong. This helpfully demonstrates why a mathematical model may not predict reality too well, with its additional complexity. He throws in the helpful idea that Concestor 0 must have lived before the most distant time when a human population became isolated and gives an estimate of a lower bound of tens of thousands of years and an upper bound of hundred's of thousands. Likely this concestor, who must be an ancestor of isolated populations like those in Tasmania did not live in Africa. He points out that quite a large number of humanity's Chang 2 ancestors have not bequeathed their genes to the current human population.

At only 8 hours, for a 600 page book, the audio edition that I'm listening to is abridged, with whole chapters dropped. I wish the cover had made this clear.
  themulhern | Aug 4, 2023 |
Extremely verbose, but extremely informative (and at times even funny) dump of information by an author that has an equally extreme care about knowledge derived from true facts. Enlightening and humbling. ( )
  zeh | Jun 3, 2023 |
Good reference book for understanding biology if you have a personal interest. It was helpful to bring me to an understanding of environmental adaptations and specializations for. surviving change or becoming better at a nitch. ( )
  WiserWisegirl | Dec 2, 2022 |
It’s something I’d wondered myself in the past: not how we see colours, not the biological technicalities of colour vision, but what they’re for, why we see in colour at all. And after reading one particular essay in this extraordinary book, then mulling it over while out being taken for a walk by my dog, I suddenly saw the answer to that. It wasn’t exactly what the essay was about; that was more to do with the ways in which very different animals sense the world around them (the star-nosed mole, the bat, the platypus, or us humans) but I got even more out of it than the author had put in. It had already crossed my mind years before that, with her almost unbelievably sensitive nose, I’m betting my dog doesn’t just smell the world in colour, but in full on, in-your-face, technicolour—and now, if that’s so, I also understood why. And all that from a single short essay among dozens, a three-page sliver tucked away among a humongous seven hundred.
   The book itself isn’t easy to characterise in a short review. It’s patterned after Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and just as that was a series of reflections on life, so is this; but while, for Chaucer, that meant human life, in The Ancestor’s Tale it’s all of life on Earth, everything else that lives here too. The “stories” are actually essays about the whole business of being a tiny living part of this planet.
   Perhaps some will be put off by the author’s name, which would be a pity. Dawkins is used as a human punch-bag by an impressive variety of people, on which to vent their own shortcomings, frustrations and bile; but you get a truer picture here: more likeable than the rabble would have you believe, as clear-headed and meticulous a guide as you could ask for to lead an odyssey across several billion years—and even has a sense of humour (although the publishers should have handed out free gas-masks ahead of the paddlefish-up-a-creek joke!).
   An exceptional book. ( )
  justlurking | Oct 14, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 74 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Beginning with modern humans and moving backwards in time, he describes our lineage as we successively join — a geneticist would say coalesce — with the common ancestors of other species. Human evolution has involved 40 such joints, each occupied by what Dawkins calls a "concestor", and each is the subject of a single chapter. He begins, of course, with our common ancestor with chimps, followed by the concestor with gorillas, then other primates, and so on through the fusion with early mammals, sponges, plants, Eubacteria and ultimately the Ur-species, probably a naked molecule of RNA. This narrative is engagingly written and attractively illustrated with reconstructions of the concestors, colourful phylogenies, and photographs of bizarre living species. The book is also remarkably up to date and, despite its size, nearly error-free. Especially notable are Dawkins' treatments of human evolution and the origin of life, the best accounts of these topics I've seen in a crowded literature.
afegit per jlelliott | editaNature, Jerry A. Coyne (Oct 21, 2004)
 
Evolutionary trees have become the lingua franca of biology. Virus hunters draw them to find the origin of SARS and H.I.V. Conservation biologists draw them to decide which endangered species are in most urgent need of saving. Geneticists draw them to pinpoint the genes that have made us uniquely humans. Genome sequencers draw them to discover new genes that may lead to new technologies and medical treatments. If you want to understand these trees -- and through them, the nature of life -- ''The Ancestor's Tale'' is an excellent place to start.
 
Dawkins has already expounded the arguments that form his vision of life, both in the natural and human realm. Now, having risen from the Bar to Bench, he is in a position to offer himself as judge and senior guide. In The Ancestor's Tale, he has become the kind of teacher without whom childhood nostalgia is incomplete: unflagging in his devotion to enlightenment, given to idiosyncratic asides. His mission is to tell the story of the origin of species backwards
 

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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Richard Dawkinsautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Wong, YanCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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The 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 our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "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 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 life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world.

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