The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
Our understanding of the ‘tree of life’, with powerful implications for human genetics, human health and our own human nature, has recently completely changed.
This book is about a new method of telling the story of life on earth – through molecular phylogenetics. It involves a fairly simple method – the reading of the deep history of life by looking at the variation in...more
This is a captivating history of the changing ideas surrounding the evolutionary tree life, from Charles Darwin to the latest findings in computational phylogenetics. Quammen writes really well and the story and it's complications are fascinating. However, the books flowed is damaged as Quammen attempts to write a second book - a biography of Carl Woese - within the first which breaks up the flow and distracts from the central story of the book.
Without all the needless ...more
You do not need to have a strong biology background to enjoy 'The Tangled tree', but you should know going in that the scientific studies covered here focus almost entirely on bacteria and archaea, rather than plants and animals. The ...more
Several topics covered in the book:
-- The discovery of Archaea as a separate kingdom by a group of scientists lead by Carl ...more
Also https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Both 2 star reviews, and Tony has been a reliable source for me in the past.
OK, and my two previous tries of Quammen books were duds, too. So I guess he's not the pop-science writer for me!
More interesting -- ...more
Read only if you are interested in their hair color or waist size.
At least 2/3 of the book reviews basic science that would already known by readers.
"The tree of life is more tangled. Genes don't move just vertically. They can also pass laterally across ...more
It is also a biography of, and tribute to, Carl Woese. I hadn't known ...more
We’ve always been taught that bacteria came first, then plants arose, and finally animals. The new evidence is scrambling this traditional view. Research suggests that animals came before plants. These animals then on-boarded a chloroplast and thus could generate their own energy supply. The big realization is that bacteria, ...more
As a biologist who was taught the usual prokaryote/eukaryote tree in college (a long time ago) I was excited that someone was setting out to explain archaea, the "third domain" for me --Here Quammen is mostly bent on Carl Woese, whose life was dedicated to putting archaea on the map. The author goes a bit further, but not in any ...more
I cannot imagine the years of research that must have gone into the writing of this book. Interviews with authors living or then-living, now-dead, bring to life the drama and controversies and obstacles that beset even a rational scientist. Never mind scientific ...more
Some writers know how to turn scientific data into a popular knowledge, and can make you even have fun as well as make you learn new things. They can make amazing accessible magic from the deep knowledge without completely losing the essence of it. Most cannot. And then they end up with a very detailed or technical book, or with an extremely flat book that is mainly populistic.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the books that in my ...more
Update: 3-20-19 at 12:53 Eastern Standard Time
I will be rereading this book. A friend and I used to talk about this subject in depth. I also read books and watch documentaries similar to this book ( due to this friend) in the before I join Goodreads Era. Some stuff I did not have in my notes, some of them I had to reread to grasp. Regardless, this was fun and educational!
This book was absolutely fascinating (if you like history of science) and biology and thinking about how we come to be where we are, biologically speaking. If you've never heard of molecular ...more
Many of you who enjoy natural history will have read about Charles Darwin. You may already know that he originated the tree of life as a way of visualizing the process of evolution. This story starts with that tree and covers several major discoveries that have caused to review our view of that tree. In particular, the author covers horizontal gene transfer (transfer of genetic material between ...more
"Science itself, however precise and objective, is a human activity. It's a way of wondering as well as a way of knowing. It's a process, not a body of facts or laws. Like music, like poetry, like baseball, like grandmaster chess, it's something gloriously imperfect that people do. The smudgy fingerprints of our humanness are all over it." - David Quammen in The Tangled Tree
In The Tangled Tree, popular science writer David Quammen gives us the history of a field of study called "molecular ...more
But some things are not so trivial. And David Quammen's THE TANGLED TREE tackles a decidedly non-trivial topic: ...more
The writing is very relaxed and accessible, even when he's explaining some of the more arcane theories about this rather ...more