Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  54 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Life's Solution builds a persuasive case for the predictability of evolutionary outcomes. The case rests on a remarkable compilation of examples of convergent evolution, in which two or more lineages have independently evolved similar structures and functions. The examples range from the aerodynamics of hovering moths and hummingbirds to the use of silk by spiders and some...more
Hardcover, 486 pages
Published by Cambridge University Press (first published September 4th 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 170)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Steve Van Slyke
Apr 27, 2013 Steve Van Slyke rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Advanced readers of evolution
From my lay reader, non-scientist perspective, the basic theme of the book is that there is a huge universe of biological space for evolution to act within. However, there are many constraints on what paths or spaces are viable, and since life began it has adapted to following those constrained paths which still are incredibly diverse. And because these various constraints exists various forms of life have adapted in similar ways, converging on similar solutions to life's challenges, whether tha...more
David
This book argues for the provocative thesis that the course of biological evolution, and indeed the course of cosmological evolution, is in a direction of unmistakable progress culminating with human society. We indeed may be the only intelligent civilization in the Milky Way, or even in the entire universe, but that does not detract from the fact that the eventual emergence of intelligent beings like ourselves (quite possibly even including our overall biochemistry and physical form) was inevit...more
Tim and Popie Stafford
Quite a fascinating book about evolution. Mostly about convergence, the consistent tendency of life to find the same solution through various pathways, as for example the camera eye, which has evolved independently multiple times in various creatures. Conway Morris' point is that life does not have infinite and random possibilities; evolution is highly constrained by the viable possibilities of its environment. Thus there is a direction to evolution, and sentient creatures very like us are an in...more
Jeff
This thing is incredibly dense with evidence and examples, but I can't help getting past this guy's abiding interest in demonstrating that faith is somehow self-evident in the array of evolutionary convergence. Morris makes some pretty strident suggestions about how life would or will or could evolve elsewhere in the universe, though, with absolutely no evidence at hand. It's a hefty wager for a thinker to make, and I don't think I can defend it as speculative science when it's so clearly intend...more
John
This is a poorly written book on a fascinating topic. However, the author convinced me that the traditional Darwinian camp, represented by Dawkins, is reductive and inadequate, and that the gene isn't the fundamental agent of evolution. The theological ideas towards the end of the book are unconvincing though. I hope that scientists continue to pursue these ideas of convergent evolution because it has important implications for understanding "the meaning of life," but it's obvious that this area...more
David Eden
Fascinating tour of biodiversity and evolution, from one of the most prominent palaeontologists in the world. A core idea is the ubiquity of convergence, where similar structures and behaviours evolve numerous times in separate lineages, in response to similar pressures from the environment. A simple example is the body shape of sharks and dolphins, but Conway Morris goes into a huge variety of diverse convergences in things like brain function, vision and social organization.
Wes
Intriguing look at evolutionary convergence. Not what I'd call light reading, but interesting. Touches on topics ranging from abiogenesis and biochemistry to cosmology and theology. Highly critical of Gould's view of evolution as a contingent process; instead looking to convergence for evidence of inevitability (or at least high probability) for certain adaptations. Not a book for people who dislike big words and long sentences.
Toni
its not so easy to read, very scientific at some points, but still, the large picture is very interesting. although you will get it completely in the first and last to chapters.
Krishan
Jul 12, 2007 Krishan marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i think this book is examining the question : Is intelligent life an inevitable consequence of natural selection??
Ken-ichi
I read this a while ago and very sadly didn't write anything down!
Gustavo Randich
Gustavo Randich marked it as to-read
Apr 18, 2014
Neil
Neil marked it as to-read
Apr 12, 2014
Jphyde
Jphyde marked it as to-read
Mar 24, 2014
Katie
Katie is currently reading it
Mar 24, 2014
Neko
Neko marked it as to-read
Mar 12, 2014
Johan De craene
Johan De craene marked it as to-read
Mar 08, 2014
Kelsey
Kelsey marked it as to-read
Mar 02, 2014
Becky
Becky marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2014
Aly
Aly marked it as to-read
Feb 03, 2014
JEnn
JEnn marked it as to-read
Jan 22, 2014
Josh
Josh marked it as to-read
Dec 27, 2013
Shantanu Sharma
Shantanu Sharma marked it as to-read
Dec 16, 2013
Jon
Jon marked it as to-read
Dec 15, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals Oxford Book of Oxford The Deep Structure of Biology: Is Convergence Sufficiently Ubiquitous to Give a Directional Signal This Loving Darkness: Silent Films and Spanish Writers, 1920-1936 Kanburia Ki No Kaibutsutachi: Shinka Wa Naze Daibakuhatsu Shita Ka

Share This Book