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The Ancestor's Tale
《祖先的故事》
Richard Dawkins
理查德·道金斯
2004-12-8 15:58:33    CRIENGLISH.com
The Ancestor's Tale
《祖先的故事》
Richard Dawkins
理查德·道金斯
Synopsis
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.

故事梗概
《祖先的故事》引领我们回顾人类的生命发展历程:从最近的祖辈到与猿,猴,其他哺乳类动物和脊椎动物共同生活的远祖,再到约四十亿年前生命的起源—微小且遥远的微生物。


这是一个非凡的故事。当然了,透过道金斯这样一位德高望重的科学家的视角,我们可以了解到有关最新科学的权威知识,因为其中很多都涵盖在这本书中了。


当我们提到道金斯,就意味着我们能够了解绝对真实的科学知识,探听到一个美妙的故事。道金斯对于巨大,奇妙的生命多样性的知识是令人钦佩的。不仅是因为这部作品描写了很多生命群中最有意思的鲜活的代表,而且还写到了一些很重要,富含信息的化石,其中很多化石是近几年才刚刚被发掘出来的。


道金斯用倒叙的手法谱写了一首壮丽的朝圣诗,从现在到过去,每一条支线都通向生命的起源。尽管有的人可能认为这种手法与进化的历程正相反,但是我认为这是最明智,也最容易让人接受的方法。


对于一般的读者来说,这种手法最大的好处就是以人们最为熟知的现在和与目前的人们关系最为紧密,珍贵的动物为开端—我们最近的人类祖先。然后它用我们并不太熟悉的和已经灭绝了的动物化石带领我们深入到更遥远,更陌生的过去。


整个朝圣分为40个小故事,每个故事围绕讲述某一种动物种群并讨论此种群在整个朝圣中的所起的作用。作者引用了遗传学,形态学和化石方面的证据进行说明,在文中插入了大量动物及动物化石的照片和图片、进化及分化的时间表和地图,为文章增添了视觉上的补充说明。


这种设计还可以使道金斯为文章做大量连续和特征的脚注。这部书还有大量的参考书目和一个非常便捷的索引。
  Comment
● 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.
评价
○ 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

作者简介
○ 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:
《自私的基因》
《盲人钟表匠》
《延伸的表现型》
《伊甸园之河》
《攀登不可能的山》
《解析彩虹》

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