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The Ancestor's Tale
Richard Dawkins
2004-12-8 15:58:33
The Ancestor's Tale
Richard Dawkins
The Ancestor's Tale takes us from our immediate human ancestors back through those shared with the apes, monkeys and other mammals and other vertebrates and beyond to the dim and distant microbial beginnings of life some 4 billion years ago.

It is a remarkable story. And, of course from a scientist of Dawkins stature and reputation we get an insider's knowledge of the most up-to-date science and many of those involved in the research.

And, as we have come to expect of Dawkins, it is told with a passionate commitment to scientific veracity and a nose for a good story. Dawkins's knowledge of the vast and wonderful sweep of life's diversity is admirable. Not only does it encompass the most interesting living representatives of so many groups of organisms but also the important and informative fossil ones, many of which have only been found in recent years.

Dawkins sees his journey with its reverse chronology as ‘cast in the form of an epic pilgrimage from the present to the past [and] all roads lead to the origin of life.’ It is, to my mind, a sensible and perfectly acceptable approach although some might complain about going against the grain of evolution.

The great benefit for the general reader is that it begins with the more familiar present and the animals nearest and dearest to us—our immediate human ancestors. And then it delves back into the more remote and less familiar past with its droves of lesser known and extinct fossil forms.

The whole pilgrimage is divided into 40 tales, each based around a group of organisms and discusses their role in the overall story. Genetic, morphological and fossil evidence is all taken into account and illustrated with a wealth of photos and drawings of living and fossils forms, evolutionary and distributional charts and maps through time, providing a visual complement to the text.

The design also allows Dawkins to make numerous running comments and characteristic asides. There are also numerous references and a good index.







● Just as we trace our personal family trees from parents to grandparents, so in The Ancestor's Tale Richard Dawkins traces the ancestry of life. As he is at pains to point out, this is very much our human tale, our ancestry. Surprisingly, it is one that many otherwise literate people are largely unaware of. Hopefully Dawkins's name and well deserved reputation as a best selling writer will introduce them to this wonderful saga.
○ 就像我们按照家谱从父辈一直追溯到祖辈一样,理查德·道金斯的《祖先的故事》也用这种方式追溯生命的祖先。作者十分痛苦地指出这本书很大程度上是关于人类的故事,人类的祖先。但是令人意外的是,很多其他的学者却远远没有认识到这一点。但愿道金斯的名气和最畅销书作者的美誉可以吸引这些学者来看看这个奇妙的传奇。
Introduction of author
● Name: Richard Dawkins
● Age: March 26, 1941
● Nationality: American
● Position: Scientist,Writer
●Main Works:
The Selfish Gene
The Blind Watchmaker
The Extended Phenotype
River Out of Eden
Climbing Mount Improbable
Unweaving the Rainbow

○ 姓名:理查德·道金斯
○ 年代:1941/03/26
○ 国籍:美国
○ 地位:科学家,作家
○ 作品:

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