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How did we get here? All cultures have a creation story, but a little over 150 years ago Charles Darwin introduced a revolutionary new one. We, and all living things, exist because of the action of evolution on the first simple life form and its descendants.
We now know that it has taken 3.8 billions of years of work by the forces of evolution to turn what was once a lump of barren rock into the rich diversity of into plants, animals and microbes that surround us. In the process, evolution has created all manner of useful adaptions, from biological computers (brains) to a system to capture energy from the sun (photosynthesis).
But how does evolution actually work? In Evolution, leading biologists and New Scientist take you on a journey of a lifetime, exploring the question of whether life is inevitable or a one-off fluke, and how it got kick-started. Does evolution have a purpose or direction? Are selfish genes really the driving force of evolution? And is evolution itself evolving?
ABOUT THE SERIES New Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that’s open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.