The Genetic Book of the Dead: A Darwinian Reverie (Hardcover)

The Genetic Book of the Dead: A Darwinian Reverie By Richard Dawkins, Jana Lenzova (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Richard Dawkins, Jana Lenzova (Illustrator)
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From a renowned biologist and best-selling author, a whole new way of looking at living organisms: reading them as documents describing ancient worlds
An exquisitely camouflaged lizard has a desiccated landscape of sand and stones “painted” on its back. Its skin can be read as a description of an ancient desert, a world in which its ancestors survived. Such descriptions are more than skin deep, however. They penetrate the very warp and woof of the entire animal.
In this groundbreaking exploration of the power of Darwinian evolution and what it can reveal about the past, Richard Dawkins shows how the body, behavior, and genes of every living creature can be read as a book—an archive of the worlds of its ancestors. In the future, a zoologist presented with a hitherto unknown animal will be able to decode its ancestral history, to read its unique “book of the dead.” Such readings are already uncovering the remarkable ways animals overcome obstacles, adapt to their environments, and, again and again, develop remarkably similar ways of solving life’s problems.
From the author of The Selfish Gene comes a revolutionary, richly illustrated book that unlocks the door to a past more vivid, nuanced, and fascinating than anything we have seen.

About the Author

Richard Dawkins was the inaugural Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. His numerous books include the best-selling The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and The Blind Watchmaker. He lives in Oxford, UK. Jana Lenzová is a translator and illustrator and is acclaimed for her work on Dawkins’s Flights of Fancy. She lives in Oxford, UK.

Praise For…

“Ingenious stories in the service of deep natural history.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Astute. . . . The author’s talent for rendering complex concepts in lucid prose remains intact.”—Publishers Weekly

“Overflowing with the beauty of nature, the beauty of language, and the beauty of ideas.”—Steven Pinker, author of Rationality and Enlightenment Now

“Dazzling in originality and scope, with beautiful illustrations, this is a wonderful celebration of the power of natural selection. Richard Dawkins reveals with brilliant clarity the imprint on organisms of their evolutionary past.”—Nick Davies, author of Cuckoo: Cheating by Nature

“Once again, Richard Dawkins asks us to look at the living world in a totally novel way: Every organism carries, in its genes, a record of the past environments in which its ancestors survived. This brilliant new way of interpreting nature opens our eyes to both the past and the future.”—John R. Krebs, author of Food: A Very Short Introduction and coauthor of An Introduction to Behavioral Ecology

“Written with typical verve and panache, Richard Dawkins’s The Genetic Book of the Dead makes a brilliant contribution to the public understanding of evolution using our most up-to-date understanding of genetics. It will enthrall, surprise, and challenge you. Read it!”—Jerry A. Coyne, author of Why Evolution Is True and Faith Versus Fact

“Richard Dawkins is the most accomplished science communicator of the past half century, and this book is a masterpiece of popular science writing.”—Tim Coulson, author of The Science of Why We Exist
“This book is a summation of the ideas of the author who brought us ‘memes’ and ‘selfish genes.’ Richard Dawkins’s lucid prose will change the way you think about your evolutionary past.”—David Haig, author of From Darwin to Derrida: Selfish Genes, Social Selves, and the Meanings of Life
“The ingenuity of evolution is infinite, a fact that fascinates Richard Dawkins as much as it fascinated Charles Darwin. Inside each organism he finds rich palimpsests chronicling the history of life itself.”—Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything and How Innovation Works
“The deployment of the conceit of genes looking backward in time is clever and well done. A piece of vivid popular science.”—Stephen Stearns, coauthor of Evolution: An Introduction

Product Details
ISBN: 9780300278095
ISBN-10: 0300278098
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication Date: September 17th, 2024
Pages: 360
Language: English