The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins


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The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins

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Out 24, 2006, 1:42 pm

Hi all! I just started in on The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins. I'm only to the point of finishing the "Handyman's Tale", but it's been a fascinating read so far. I was wondering about other folks' take on it.

Out 24, 2006, 2:11 pm

I read it and enjoyed it. I think his writing still provides some of the best insight into biological thought today. I will say that I would prefer more severe editing. To be fair, I am old and have have read much of his earlier stuff and references to older works in the book that are repetitive to me might be brilliant to those more recently introduced to Dawkins.

Out 24, 2006, 4:11 pm

I enjoyed it very much. I have the hardback with extensive computer generated artwork and photos which added greatly to my understanding and enjoyment.

The shear size of the book and the number of links in the evolutionary chain really make you appreciate just how mind boggling the age of the earth is.

From a quick glance I don't see many other Dawkins works in your library and would heartily recommend them. I can see you have a fair few sceptical works so I think that perhaps the The Blind Watchmaker would be a good recommendation as it basically works through some of the main arguments against or difficulties with understanding evolution and de-bunks them.

I agree with the comment above about editing The Ancestor's Tale but I find his other books lean and mean thought provokers.

Out 24, 2006, 9:27 pm

Not having read a great many of Dawkins, the repetitive references are great for me, Shiloh. I know what you mean though--when you're familiar with a body of work, it gets old pretty quickly.

Thanks for the suggestion, Psi... I've read The Blind Watchmaker but don't yet have a copy of it. To be honest, I went into the bookstore looking for The God Delusion, but this just caught my eye. I foresee further purchases of Mr. Dawkins in the future! And I'm glad to hear you both enjoyed it.

Out 29, 2006, 10:23 am

Ooh! I'd heard of this one, and the structure sounded really interesting to me. Good to hear that it's a solid read.

Fev 1, 2007, 1:14 pm

Now that I've read it (over winter break), I can say that it was indeed a good choice. I was initially put off by its length, but having read it, I wish he'd had time to go into more detail, especially about Hox genes ("The Fruit Fly's Tale"). The bits about race ("The Grasshopper's Tale") and the platypus ("The Duckbill's Tale", I think it was?) were especially fascinating.

I was looking for an overview of the interesting parts of evolutionary biology, and I think I got it.

Fev 1, 2007, 8:38 pm

Matt Ridley talks a little about Hox Genes somewhere in Genome: The Autobiography of a species in 23 chapters. Been awhile since I read it, so I can't pinpoint you towards a chapter. It may be in the index if you just wanted to read that short part in a book store one day. All of the book is good, though, so you needn't worry about that if you wanted to read the whole thing.

Mar 25, 2007, 3:23 am

Read the first 100 pg. or so of The Blind Watchmaker on some flights last week. Good reading, and accessible to somebody (like me) without a background in biology.