803 pages, 32 plates with 52 colour photos and colour illustrations; b/w illustrations
A fully updated edition of one of the most original accounts of evolution, originally written in 2004, featuring new fractal diagrams, five new 'tales' and the latest scientific developments.
The Ancestor's Tale is a dazzling, four-billion-year pilgrimage to the origins of life: Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong take us on an exhilarating reverse journey through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life. It is a journey happily interrupted by meetings of fellow modern animals (as well as plants, fungi and bacteria) similarly tracing their evolutionary path back through history. As each evolutionary pilgrim tells their tale, Dawkins sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection and extinction.
Written with unparalleled wit, clarity and intelligence; taking in new scientific discoveries of the past decade; and including three new 'tales' and fractal diagrams, 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.
"In this extraordinary book, Dawkins turns chronicler. He does so with a clever twist that avoids the perennial problem of evolutionary history-telling [...] As a contribution to the history of ideas this book is well worthy of Britain's top public intellectual. The arguments are as sharply honed as we have come to expect from Dawkins"
– Matt Ridley, Guardian
"The Ancestor's Tale achieves the almost impossible: it makes biology interesting again"
– Steve Jones
"One of the richest accounts of evolution ever written"
– Financial Times
"Should be given to all young persons starting out on their exploration of the world. It will excite their curiosity and awe and prove to them that the world is inexhaustible in its fascination"
– Sunday Telegraph
"No other book I have read has given me such a dizzyingly immediate sense of the vastness and strangeness of the changes brought about by evolution over the eons, or how intimately all life is bound together [...] The Ancestor's Tale makes you feel you have seen the world in a fresh, exhilarating way"
– Robert Hanks, Daily Telegraph
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Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist renowned throughout the world. He was educated at Oxford where he did his doctorate under the nobel-prize winning ethologist Niko Tinbergen. From 1967-1969 he was an Assistant Professor at the University of California at Berkley. Since 1995 he has been Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His books rank among the most influential intellectual works of our time.
Yan Wong is an evolutionary biologist who studies the theoretical underpinnings of life. He is also a radio and television presenter, perhaps best known from the BBC One television show Bang Goes the Theory.