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Books: Summary of The Ancestor's Tale, by the author Richard Dawkins

Book cover: The Ancestor

The Ancestor's Tale

Author: Richard Dawkins

Genre: Science / Scientific Divulgation

Language: English

Summary:

The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution

In The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins offers a masterwork: an exhilarating reverse tour through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life four billion years ago.

Throughout the journey Dawkins spins entertaining, insightful stories and sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection, and extinction. The Ancestor's Tale is at once an essential education in evolutionary theory and a riveting read.

The Ancestor's Tale" is a pilgrimage back through time; a journey on which we meet up with fellow pilgrims as we and they converge on our common ancestors.

Chimpanzees join us at about 6 million years in the past, gorillas at 7 million years, orang utans at 14 million years, as we stride on together, a growing band. The journey provides the setting for a collection of some 40 tales. Each explores an aspect of evolutionary biology through the stories of characters met along the way or glimpsed from afar - the "Elephant Bird's Tale", the "Marsupial Mole's Tale", the "Lungfish's Tale". Together they give a deep understanding of the processes that have shaped life on Earth: convergent evolution, the isolation of populations, continental drift, the great extinctions.

The tales are interspersed with prologues detailing the journey, route maps showing joining lineages, and life-like reconstructions of our common ancestors.

"The Ancestor's Tale" represents a pilgrimage on an unimaginable scale: our goal is four billion years away, and the number of pilgrims joining us grows vast - ultimately encompassing all living creatures. At the end of the journey lies something remarkable in its simplicity and transformative power: the first, humble, replicating molecules.

With unparalleled wit, clarity, and intelligence, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists, has introduced countless readers to the wonders of science in works such as The Selfish Gene.

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