Front cover image for The ancestor's tale : a pilgrimage to the dawn of evolution

The ancestor's tale : a pilgrimage to the dawn of evolution

The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolution, ranging from the latest developments in the field to his own provocative views. Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins's Tale takes us modern humans back through four billion years of life on our planet. As the pilgrimage progresses, we join with other organisms at the forty "rendezvous points" where we find a common ancestor. The band of pilgrims swells into a vast crowd as we join first with other primates, then with other mammals, and so on back to the first primordial organism. Dawkins's brilliant, inventive approach allows us to view the connections between ourselves and all other life in a bracingly novel way. It also lets him shed bright new light on the most compelling aspects of evolutionary history and theory: sexual selection, speciation, convergent evolution, extinction, genetics, plate tectonics, geographical dispersal, and more. The Ancestor's Tale is at once a far-reaching survey of the latest, best thinking on biology and a fascinating history of life on Earth. Here Dawkins shows us how remarkable we are, how astonishing our history, and how intimate our relationship with the rest of the living world
Print Book, English, 2004
Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2004
Popular Work
xii, 673 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
9780618005833, 9780739453735, 9780618619160, 0618005838, 0739453734, 061861916X
The conceit of hindsight
The general prologue
The pilgrimage begins
rendezvous 0. All humankind
Archaic Homo sapiens
rendezvous 1. Chimpanzees
rendezvous 2. Gorillas
rendezvous 3. Orang utans
rendezvous 4. Gibbons
rendezvous 5. Old world monkeys
rendezvous 6. New world monkeys
rendezvous 7. Tarsiers
rendezvous 8. Lemurs, bushbabies and their kin
The great cretaceous catastrophe
rendezvous 9. Colugos and the tree shrews
rendezvous 10. Rodents and rabbitkind
rendezvous 11. Laurasiatheres
rendezvous 12. Xenarthrans
rendezvous 13. Afrotheres
rendezvous 14. Marsupials
rendezvous 15. Monotremes
Mammal-like reptiles
rendezvous 16. Sauropsids
rendezvous 17. Amphibians
rendezvous 18. Lungfish
rendezvous 19. Coelacanths
rendezvous 20. Ray-finned fish
rendezvous 21. Sharks and their kin
rendezvous 22. Lampreys and hagfish
rendezvous 23. Lancelets
rendezvous 24. Sea squirts
rendezvous 25. Ambulacrarians
rendezvous 26. Protostomes
rendezvous 27. Acoelomorph flatworms
rendezvous 28. Cnidarians
rendezvous 29. Ctenophores
rendezvous 30. Placozoans
rendezvous 31. Sponges
rendezvous 32. Choanoflagellates
rendezvous 33. Drips
rendezvous 34. Fungi
rendezvous 35. Amoebozoans
rendezvous 36. Plants
rendezvous 37. Uncertain
The great historic rendezvous
rendezvous 38. Archaea
rendezvous 39. Eubacteria
The host's return