Life's solution: inevitable humans in a lonely universe
"In this extraordinarily wide-ranging book Simon Conway Morris takes us on a tour of life that encompasses both classic examples of convergence, such as the camera-eyes of octopus and human, and remarkable new work that shows, for example, how ants have developed agriculture independently of us. Embedded in the evolutionary process are both latent inevitabilities and pathways that will be repeatedly explored. Underpinned by DNA, the weirdest molecule in the Universe, guided by a genetic code of staggering effectiveness, the tape of life will in time navigate to such biological properties as advanced sensory systems, intelligence, complex societies, tool-making and culture. So if these are all evolutionary inevitabilities, where are our counterparts across the Galaxy? The tape of life can run only on a suitable planet, and here it turns out that such Earth-like planets may be much rarer than is hoped. Inevitable humans, yes, but in a lonely Universe."--BOOK JACKET.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -445). Preface: The Cambridge sandwich -- 1. Looking for Easter Island -- 2. Can we break the great code? -- 3. Universal goo: life as a cosmic principle? -- 4. The origin of life: straining the soup or our credulity? -- 5. Uniquely lucky? The strangeness of Earth -- 6. Converging on the extreme -- 7. Seeing convergence -- 8. Alien convergences? -- 9. The non-prevalence of humanoids? -- 10. Evolution bound: the ubiquity of convergence -- 11. Towards a theology of evolution -- 12. Last word.
- LCC: QH360.5
- Dewey Decimal: 576.8/01
- Language: eng
- Physical Description: xxi, 463 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
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