The sixth in Stephen Jay Gould's great series in reflections on biology, natural history and culture. His previous books, such as Bully for Brontosaurus and Wonderful Life, have shown a very wide readership that science can be an exciting, joyful pursuit, and also that it is deeply influenced by culture and society. In this latest book, Gould widens the focus of discussion to take in some of the largest conceptual issues in the history of life, asking what very recent discoveries in Cambrian palaeontology have to tell us about the pattern of evolution, and exploring the different fates of the metaphors 'fortune' and 'progress' in Darwinian science.
Stephen Jay Gould was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of geology at Harvard and the curator for invertebrate palaeontology in the university's Museum of Comparative Zoology. He died in May 2002.
"There is no scientist today whose books I look forward to reading with greater anticipation of enjoyment and enlightenment than Stephen Jay Gould."
– Martin Gardner