[By Nic Lindh on Wednesday, 28 June 2006]
In The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Richard Dawkins takes a reverse-approach to the evolution of life, beginning with the current day and then moving back through time and meetings with 40 “concestors,” species where the line that spawned humans meets other lines, all the way to the beginning of life on this planet some 4 billion years ago.
Through this journey, Dawkins’s writing is vivid and clear and above all infectious as he shares his sense of wonder at the amazing breadth of life on this planet and the events that has shaped this life back through the eons. His gift for sharing the wonder of life is perhaps Dawkins’s greatest gift.
Not many authors have the ability to make the evolution of the flatworm interesting and charming, but Dawkins has it in spades.
Weighing in at 673 pages, The Ancestor’s Tale is a bit of a brick, but this only makes it doubly useful: You can read it to revel in the glory of life, and then you can physically beat it over the heads of creationists…
This is a wonderful, wonderful book, and Dawkins deserves the highest praise for writing it.