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 pro The renowned biologist and thinker Richard Dawkins presents his most expansive work yet: a comprehensive look at evolutio...

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Title:The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
Author:Richard Dawkins
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Genres:Science
ISBN:The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution
ISBN
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:688 pages pages

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

  • Brian
    Mar 30, 2007
    I've been a fan of Dawkins for a while solely based on interviews, but this is the first of his books I've actually read. It works its way backwards through the evolutionary tree, detailing how all living things are related - how a stranger on the street, your dog, your house plant, ba...
  • Warwick
    Sep 03, 2013
    There are some facts the simple knowing of which seems to me to be a supreme achievement of our species. The fact that we are all made of stardust. The fact that 99.9999999999999 percent of all matter is empty. The fact that mass and energy can be expressed in terms of each other. Stuf...
  • Jerzy
    Apr 25, 2008
    Fantastic! If I'd read this in high school I would definitely be a biologist by now. Often I agree with Dawkins' views on creationists, but usually he's an obnoxious ass about it. Thankfully, in this book he only disses them occasionally. For most of the book he sticks to his strength...
  • Miles
    Nov 16, 2007
    A great book. Also full of fun, amazing trivia about the mind-blowing diversity of life as well as the easily over looked fundamental links and commonalities between huge classifications of organisms. I learned from books like this that the full implications of the scale of universal t...
  • Punk
    Jun 07, 2007
    Non-Fiction. 4 billion years of evolution, practically in real time. To avoid any "human-centrism," Dawkins -- famous for his outspoken stance against creationism -- does this backwards and models the journey on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Scared yet? Well, it's not in rhyme or Old Eng...
  • David
    Apr 22, 2017
    This is the 2016, revised edition of this fabulous book. In this edition, Richard Dawkins is a co-author with Yan Wong. This is a very hefty tome, just under 800 pages. It is a marvelously inventive, masterful look at evolution, as seen from the point of view of homo sapiens travelling...
  • Nikki
    Aug 16, 2009
    I love this book. It's not the kind of thing I usually read, because I prefer fiction to non-fiction by far, at least when I have a choice about it. And I really, really loathe Dawkins' The God Delusion, largely because of the tone he takes toward people who are religious believers. Bu...
  • Jen
    Mar 14, 2008
    Poor Dawkins - he gets a bad reputation. People think he's mean and nasty and heartless and elitist. Okay, I might have to grant people the "elitist" bit, because, well, I'm a bit of an elitist myself. But I dare you all to read this book and then tell me that Dawkins isn't a total...
  • Robin
    Aug 11, 2007
    This is my favorite book in the whole world. Someday it may be eclipsed by something else but for now it's this. What I love most about this book is the number of times I found myself thinking, "Wow, I had no idea". It makes perfect sense when you think it out, but the entire premise o...
  • Casey
    Sep 05, 2007
    After finishing The Selfish Gene, I rushed out to the store to buy another of Dawkins' books. While the size of this tome was quite intimidating, I found the premise utterly fascinating. The narrative traces humans' evolutionary ancestry, from primates to "concestor zero," or the begin...
  • Courtney Stirrat
    Sep 25, 2007
    The Ancestor's Tale is an incredible find! With a form based loosely on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Dawkins marches back in time to each of humankind's ancestors. Witty, brilliant and engaging, you will learn a great deal about evolutionary biology, and a million fun and intriguing fac...
  • GWC
    Oct 02, 2007
    Fascinating zoology but plenty of flotsam. "The Beaver's Tale" "The Duckbill's Tale" and "The Axolotl's Tale" are outstanding examples of modern naturalism. The classical genetics is adequate but the molecular data is explained minimally and not compelling. More details on the challeng...
  • Brian Hodges
    Sep 19, 2008
    This book blew my mind so many times in so many ways. It is quite simply the most fascinating thing I have ever read about life on this planet. Dawkins traces our evolution from the present day back through the very first organisms on earth. He uses various "rendezvouses" to show the p...
  • Manny
    Nov 22, 2008
    On Monday, an old friend came round to lunch, and, while we were having a cup of tea in the living room, remarked on the number of Richard Dawkins books on my shelf. Somehow, I'd never heard that she'd actually had Dawkins as a supervisor for one term when she was an undergraduate at O...
  • Chris
    May 06, 2014
    Richard Dawkins has done an astounding job producing this book. If it were not for his other great works, The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype: The Long Reach of the Gene, The Ancestor's Tale would be his best work in evolutionary science. It matters not one bit that it's a summ...
  • Chris
    Jan 06, 2015
    Richard Dawkins is the best writer on the topic of evolution that I have encountered. He is able to explain concepts in such a way as to make them easily understandable. All of the books that I have read by Dawkins have been very informative and entertaining as well. The Ancestor's Tal...
  • Hadrian
    Aug 12, 2010
    Charming and packed with detail. Dawkins' eloquence and passion for his subject is a real treat to enjoy. ...
  • Lee Harmon
    Mar 05, 2011
    While I read different genres, I only review books with a religious content. So, if I may be excused for one of my ?liberal Christian rants,? let me say this: It?s a sad day when a book about evolution earns a spot on the shelves of a religion blog. It simply astounds me that hal...
  • David (דוד)
    Sep 22, 2012
    6-stars [NOTE: I like to provide a 6-star rating to a book when it has been able to keep me in a state of amazement almost continuously for at least 80% of its content.] A terrific book on evolution from the vast spectrum of creatures on this planet. Truly, a lot of information h...
  • Mark Hartzer
    Jan 12, 2012
    It's a shame that some people get caught up in Mr. Dawkins as a supposed spokesman for Atheism because first and foremost, he's a scientist, and this book is about the science behind life on Earth. In order to better explain evolutionary science, Dawkins metaphorically borrows Chau...
  • Max
    Dec 21, 2016
    Dawkins presents evolutionary biology in a Chaucerian format. As with the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales, each of Dawkins tales is about pilgrims on their way to a common destination, in this case the beginning of life. Each group of species marches back in time rendezvousing where t...
  • Otherwyrld
    Sep 15, 2018
    I approached a book of this size and scope with some trepidation (seriously, you could kill someone if you hit them over the head with the hardback edition), how could this possibly cover the whole history of life on Earth. I also note that I have had issues in the past with the author...
  • Andy
    Sep 24, 2018
    Your 30-million-greats-grandparent was a shrew. Your 270-million-greats-grandparent from over half a billion years ago looked like this worm. Did I mention that its mouth doubled as its anus? This book is filled with ways ways of making you feel very small. This is the type of book tha...
  • Pink
    Aug 02, 2014
    Wow. I like Richard Dawkins. I like what he has to say in The God Delusion and I like his tweets for the same reason. Lots of people don't like his confrontational stand on religion, but don't let that put you off here. First and foremost, he is an amazing scientist. Th...
  • Jaclynn
    Jun 27, 2018
    Not recommended for those with a passing interest in evolution...this is heavy into the math and science realms. This is an extremely in depth, hefty tome as seen from the point of view of homo sapiens travelling backwards in time to the dawn of life. Dawkins tale is modeled after Cant...
  • Aurélien Thomas
    Apr 13, 2013
    Here's an ambitious bet: to tell the story of life on Earth as an odyssey, a pilgrimage backward in time. The approach is indeed original as, reading this book is like boarding a time machine where at each chapter we meet one of our ancestors -that Dawkins describes, showing in which w...
  • Fipah
    Mar 18, 2018
    4 stars = I really liked it Dividing the book into two digestible parts (that themselves count as books really) was what I've done and I can recommended it, yet the drawback is one does not remember very well the points he made in the first half of the book, however it was not at al...
  • Mike
    Jun 16, 2017
    This may be Dawkins' best book.The Ancestor's Tale follows our evolutionary line backwards in time displaying Dawkins's fabuolus talent for elegant and clear exposition and ability to make natural selection poetic and wonderfull despite nature beign "red in toth and claw".Unputdownable...
  • Illiterate
    Jun 27, 2019
    Dawkins? backwards history emphasizes the chaotic (anti-teleological) and continuous (anti-essentialist) nature of evolution. ...
  • Michael Kress
    Jun 09, 2018
    Dawkins was the author who made me realize how fascinating evolutionary biology is. I had read a few of his books before I started this one, but they were all around 300 to 400 pages. This one is 614 pages. It goes back in time, starting in the present moment until we finally reach the...