River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters)

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9781780226897: River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life (Science Masters)
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The river of dawkins's title is a river of dna, flowing through time from the beginning of life on earth to the present - and onwards. Dawkins explains that dna must be thought of as the most sophisticated information system imaginable: 'life is just bytes and bytes of information,' he writes. Using this perspective, he describes the mechanisms by which evolution has taken place, gradually but inexorably, over a period of three thousand million years. It is the story of how evolution happens, rather than a narrative of what has actually happened in evolution. He discusses current views on the process of human evolution, including the idea that we all trace back to a comparatively recent african 'eve', and speculates that the 'information explosion' that was unleashed on earth when dna came into being has almost certainly happened in other places in the universe.

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Nearly a century and a half after Charles Darwin formulated it, the theory of evolution is still the subject of considerable debate. Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins is among Darwin's chief defenders, and an able one indeed-- witty, literate, capable of turning a beautiful phrase. In River Out of Eden he introduces general readers to some fairly abstract problems in evolutionary biology, gently guiding us through the tangles of mitochondrial DNA and the survival-of-the- fittest ethos. (Superheroes need not apply: Dawkins writes, "The genes that survive . . . will be the ones that are good at surviving in the average environment of the species.") Dawkins argues for the essential unity of humanity, noting that "we are much closer cousins of one another than we normally realize, and we have many fewer ancestors than simple calculations suggest."

About the Author:

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist renowned throughout the world. He was educated at Oxford and taught zoology before becoming the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, in 1995. His previous books rank among the most influential intellectual works of our time. They include THE SELFISH GENE (1976), RIVER OUT OF EDEN (1995), and UNWEAVING THE RAINBOW (1999).

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9780140276640: River out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life

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ISBN 10:  0140276645 ISBN 13:  9780140276640
Publisher: Penguin, 1998
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