How did species wind up where they are today? Scientists have long conjectured that plants and animals dispersed throughout the world by drifting on large landmasses as they broke up, but in The Monkey’s Voyage, biologist Alan de Queiroz offers a radical new theory that displaces this passive view.
He describes how species as diverse as monkeys, baobab trees, and burrowing lizards made incredible long-distance ocean crossings: pregnant animals and wind-blown plants rode rafts and icebergs and even stowed away on the legs of sea-going birds to create the map of life we see today. In the tradition of John McPhee's Basin and Range and David Quammen's The Song of the Dodo, The Monkey’s Voyage is a beautifully told narrative of a profound investigation into the importance of contingency in history and the nature of scientific discovery.
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Fascinating, if you can handle the detail
- Mary-Liz "I am a book junkie. Read to me."
Wonderful introduction to biogeography
Historical scientific adventure.
Ghosts of Gondwana, another book on biogeography. Ghosts of Gondwana focuses on New Zealand, and is very well written, but not so fun to read or engaging. The Monkey's Voyage doesn't go into such great and specific depth, instead giving an overview and history of the science of biogeography.
Dr. Kary Mullis. I never realised he was such a laugh.
Yes! I couldn't, but I would have. But also it was good to savour it and spread it over several sessions.
Jonathan Todd Ross is American, but his accent is very easy on the ears, with excellent intonation. He slips up occasionally - eg. the "Olgigocene" drowning - but the slip ups are very infrequent considering his having to pronounce some very technical words. For some reason, the slip ups made listening even more enjoyable - they gave it character. This is an incredibly well-written book and I think anyone would find it enjoyable. Biogeography is the science of why things are where they are, and it has a fascinating history that has been told in such dull ways in the past. This book is so refreshing and enjoyable that I couldn't recommend it enough and I was sad when it finished.
- M. V. Smith