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Richard Dawkins

Climbing Mount Improbable

The idea of an evolutionary landscape, with its peaks and valleys, is well known, and quite a few popular science writers have written about it. So what distinguishes Richard Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable fom the others? Well, I felt that it was the wide range of examples which Dawkins brings to the reader. He starts off with examples of volutionary convergence, and goes on to look at subjects such as the spiders webs, the different methods of animal flight, and the shape of shells There are also chapters on embryo development and on pollination, including the life of the fig wasp.

You may wonder about the role of chance in the journey through the evolutionary landscape. I'm not sure you'll find the answer here - Dawkins debunks the '747 in a junkyard' idea, but doesn't go into great detail about the nature of probability or how it acts in evolution. What he does have is the results of plenty of computer simuations - some of these he has developed, some are the work of others. Dawkins naturally takes every opportunity to demonstrate the errors of creationism, and one of the simulations shows that far from the eye being a problem, in fact it can evolve very rapidly. All in all an excellent book if you want to find out more about the nature of evolution, or even if you just want to learn about some of the living things with which we share the planet.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 0141026170
Salesrank: 3999022
Weight:0.66 lbs
Published: 2006 Penguin Books
Amazon price $8.14
Marketplace:New from $7.65:Used from $1.91
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 336 pages  
ISBN: 0141026170
Salesrank: 201476
Weight:0.66 lbs
Published: 2006 Penguin
Amazon price £9.98
Marketplace:New from £3.53:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 0141026170
Salesrank: 3174807
Weight:0.66 lbs
Published: 2006 PENGUIN
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 6.50:Used from CDN$ 3.82
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Product Description
***20th Anniversary Edition - With a New Introduction*** Cover note: Each copy of the anniversary edition of Climbing Mount Improbable features a unique shell. No two covers are exactly alike. How could such an intricate object as the human eye - so complex and so precise - have come about by chance? In this masterful piece of popular science, Richard Dawkins builds a powerful and carefully reasoned argument for evolutionary adaptation as the force behind all life on earth. The metaphor of 'Mount Improbable' represents the combination of perfection and improbability that we find in the seemingly 'designed' complexity of living things. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time. Evocative illustrations accompany Dawkins' eloquent descriptions of astonishing adaptations in the living world.