The Genetic Book of the Dead

(Author) (Illustrator)
Pre-Order   Ships 10 October 2024


From one of the world’s great science writers, a book that explores the deepest principles of evolutionary history.

In this groundbreaking new approach to the evolution of all life, Richard Dawkins shows how the body, behaviour, and genes of every living creature can be read as a book – an archive of the worlds of its ancestors. A perfectly camouflaged desert lizard has a desiccated landscape of sand and stones ‘painted’ on its back. Its skin can be read as a description of ancient deserts in which its ancestors survived – and, before that, of the worlds of its more remote ancestors: a genetic book of the dead.

But such descriptions are more than skin-deep. The fine chisels of Darwinian natural selection carve their way through the very warp and woof of the body, into every biochemical nook and corner, into every cell of every living creature. A zoologist of the future, presented with a hitherto-unknown animal, will be able to reconstruct the worlds that shaped its ancestors, to read its unique ‘book of the dead’.

The book is filled with fascinating examples of the power of Darwinian natural selection to build exquisite perfection, paradoxically accompanied by what look like gross blunders. Along the way, Dawkins dismantles influential criticisms of the ‘gene’s-eye-view’ of life. And, to end with a provocative sting in the tail, the author asks there is a sense in which all our ‘own’ genes can be seen as a gigantic colony of cooperating viruses?

From the author of The Selfish Gene and The Ancestor’s Tale comes a revolutionary, richly illustrated book that unlocks the door to an ancient past, seen through wholly new eyes.

Product Details

£25.00  £23.75
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publish Date
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