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The Origins of Life: From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language (The Major Transitions in Evolution for a popular audience)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
When John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary published The Major Transitions in Evolution, it was seen as a major work in biology. Nature hailed it as a book of "grand and daunting sweep...A splendid and rewarding tour de force." And New Scientist wrote that it captured "the essence of modern biology," calling it "an extremely significant book which, as a bonus, is very read ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published (first published May 13th 1999)
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Anton
Oct 03, 2014 Anton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very difficult, but worth it, as it's totally amazing in its chain of reasoning and speculation: demonstrates the possibility of life evolving from inert chemicals to the present day via accident alone. Essential reading for anyone trying to really understand how we might have come into existence (without resorting to theology or mysticism).
Jitao David
May 18, 2014 Jitao David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
A comprehensive review of key events that are proposed by the two authors during the evolution of life. Apparently the target of the book is all readers with interests in biology and the formation of complexity of life. Therefore there are some passages in the book that are basic biology that can be easily jumped over by biologists. Nevertheless, the book gives a quite up-to-date review on both theoretical and practical aspects of research about origin of life.

Part of the discussion is rather th
...more
Betsy Curlin
May 12, 2015 Betsy Curlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good chronological account of how life began and evolved, up through humans and the origin of language.
Xin
Sep 08, 2011 Xin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book about evolution, especially the major evolutionary transitions such as the emergence of self-replicating molecules and the first multiceullar organisms. The author is a famed evolutionary biologist.
Eric
Dec 17, 2007 Eric rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to write good, clear general science books. A very interesting premise, but somehow didn't grab me very well...but I had just read a really great novel, so that's hard to match with non-fiction.
Dhananjay
Too dense. Many concepts are heavy so would have preferred more illustrations/explanations.
But still overall important book.
Might be outdated about a few chapters/ points.
Jen
Jul 14, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, book_club
Not a light read by any stretch, but informative and a great compendium of current research on how complex life developed.
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  • Evolution The Human Story
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  • The Variety of Life: A Survey and a Celebration of All the Creatures that Have Ever Lived
  • The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today
  • Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins
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  • The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview
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John Maynard Smith FRS was a British evolutionary geneticist; one of the most important biologists of his era.
More about John Maynard Smith...

Other Books in the Series

The Major Transitions in Evolution (2 books)
  • The Major Transitions in Evolution

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