The Ancestor's Tale - Richard Dawkins

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The Ancestor's Tale is a journey through time, though from the present to the past. It is a journey showing the path of evolution, but in reverse. Hence it takes us back, along Darwinian lines, to the time that humans are thought to have merged with chimps, then gorillas, gibbons and back and back.

Inspired by the Canterbury Tales in Chaucer's iconic work, along the way the various animals and living creatures are given a voice and tell their tale - or explore a certain topic Dawkin's lingers on in more detail.

The concept is very interesting, and the book can be treated as a reference book and read in bits and pieces quite easily. The illustrations are good quality and some of the asides interesting.

If you've read Dawkin's other work, there won't be much idea development here and sadly at times he gets on his hobby horse and has his usual jibes at the 'right-wing' of America and anyone who believes in a creationist theory.

Also, as ever with Dawkin's, some extremely lucid passages and clear thinking are let down by a lack of development - he will pick up an idea, run with it a little, then just drop it, and too many interesting questions raised by the text are ignored. And, at times, the logic of the argument is shocking!

That said, this is definitely an interesting read and if you're interested in evolutionary biology a fascinating read, and well recommended.

The Ancestor's Tale

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