The assassin's bullet misses, the Archduke's carriage moves forward, and a catastrophic war is avoided. So too with the history of life. Re-run the tape of life, as Stephen J. Gould claimed, and the outcome must be entirely different: an alien world, without humans and maybe not even intelligence. The history of life is littered with accidents: any twist or turn may lead to a completely different world. Now this view is being challenged. Simon Conway Morris explores the evidence demonstrating life's almost eerie ability to navigate to a single solution, repeatedly. Eyes, brains, tools, even culture: all are very much on the cards. So if these are all evolutionary inevitabilities, where are our counterparts across the galaxy? The tape of life can only run on a suitable planet, and it seems that such Earth-like planets may be much rarer than hoped. Inevitable humans, yes, but in a lonely Universe.
Buy Life's Solution book by Simon Conway Morris from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(228mm x 152mm x 25mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Simon Conway Morris
Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge, he is also the author of The Crucible of Creation (1998).