Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Review - The Ancestor's Tale

The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins: This book is a classic on biological evolution from a biologist professor famous among those who don't care about religion, and infamously known to those who do. Since it is reviewed extensively on the web, there is little I can add, so I will keep it short just to entice more readers. The book is about how we all came from, and traces our origins as a pilgrimage to the past, all the way to life's origin on earth - all the way to algae or amoeba, and all the way to when continents were together. Since it is based on the author's almost entire research career, it is filled with scientific discoveries, words of wisdom and convincing arguments. I learned that Australopithecus (our ancestor that gave rise to all the Homos... Homo-erectus, Homo-sapiens etc) had nothing to do with Australia, but Australo just means south, and implied an origin in South Africa. Likewise, erectus means standing up straight, and nothing to do with an erection! Somehow, a scientist chose to call this branch of Apes as Homo, borrowing from Homo-therm (meaning same temperature, implying warm blooded animals). I have read somewhere sapiens means wise, so we humans are supposed to be wiser than other species, though it may not show in many cases! Great to read, and must read!

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