The Riddled Chain: Chance, Coincidence and Chaos in Human Evolution by Jeffrey K. McKee (Hardback, 2000)
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- DescriptionEver since our early ancestors first stood up on their two feet, taking on an unusual stance with a peculiar gait, natural selection has guided the process of human evolution toward the species we are today. But the evolutionary road to Homo sapiens was t easy; indeed, there was road to follow. There was just a dim patch cut out by the contingencies of chance, coincidence and chaos. Could chance really have played an important role in the evolution of such a sophisticated, sentient being? It is undoubtedly so! From the source of the very genes that construct our bodies to the origin of our species, chance was t only operating - it was absolutely necessary for the evolutionary process. Likewise, biological and environmental coincidences shaped our bodies and pushed our ancestors in odd directions along the dim path, leaving us to deal with opportunities as well as hindrances. Each step led directly to ather. Had any link in the evolutionary chain of events been slightly different, then our species would t be as it is today ...or our ancestors may t have survived at all. Dependence on such subtle contingencies is the signature of chaos. Anthropologist Jeffrey McKee portrays a story of research on the cutting edge of both paleontology and evolutionary theory. His book delves into the excitement and frustrations of excavations at the world-rewned fossil sites of Taung and Makapansgat, two South African site that provide key evidence elucidating the initial conditions of human origins. Using a concoction of evidence ranging from fossil excavations to computer simulations McKee then lays the foundations for our scientific debates. Probing the depths of research with a variety of perspectives, the author demonstrates how the chain of human evolution was riddled with chance, coincidence and chaos. The book projects the author's personal feeling of wonder and sense of humour in order to make the new scientific revolution accessible to the general reader, while being firmly grounded with hard-hitting research so as to be of importance to the scientific community. The Riddled Chain then concludes with a thought-provoking assessment of the implications of the latest evolutionary research for the present and future conditions of humankind.
- Author(s)Jeffrey K. McKee
- PublisherRutgers University Press
- Date of Publication31/07/2000
- SubjectPopular Science
- Place of PublicationNew Brunswick, NJ
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintRutgers University Press
- Content Note8 line drawings, 5b & w photographs
- Weight585 g
- Width161 mm
- Height230 mm
- Spine24 mm
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