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The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being Evolution and the Making of Us by Dr. Alice Roberts

The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being Evolution and the Making of Us

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Sue Baker's view...

An insight into the development of the Human Body with Alice Roberts tackling both our evolution and our development alongside how our medical knowledge has also developed. There really hasn’t been a good all-round (and very readable) history and explanatory guide to the science of the body since the 1970’s publication, The Human Body by Anthony Smith so this is a welcome addition to the Science shelves.

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Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Well-known TV presenter and columnist, Professor Alice Roberts, takes us on a fascinating exploration of how we develop from a single cell to the person we are. However, this journey also takes in our evolutionary past and how it can be seen in the developing embryo. Rob-erts’ style is witty and personal, and so engages the reader that it almost comes as a surprise that so much scientific knowledge has been absorbed. The text moves seamlessly from the particular stage of embryonic development to how our knowledge of evolution can be seen in that stage and then back to the developing embryo. The likelihood of us being here is tiny, but we are, and we are left with a challenge to take responsibility and make the most of being here.
~ Alison Smith


The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being Evolution and the Making of Us by Dr. Alice Roberts

The presenter of BBC's The Incredible Human Journey gives us a new and highly accessible look at our own bodies, allowing us to understand how we develop as an embryo, from a single egg into a complex body, and how our embryos contain echoes of our evolutionary past. Bringing together the latest scientific discoveries, Professor Alice Roberts illustrates that evolution has made something which is far from perfect. Our bodies are a quirky mix of new and old, with strokes of genius alongside glitches and imperfections which are all inherited from distant ancestors. Our development and evolutionary past explains why, as embryos, we have what look like gills, and as adults we suffer from back pain. This is a tale of discovery, not only exploring why and how we have developed as we have, but also looking at the history of our anatomical understanding. It combines the remarkable skills and qualifications Alice Roberts has as a doctor, anatomist, osteoarchaeologist and writer. Above all, she has a rare ability to make science accessible, relevant and interesting to mainstream audiences and readers.


'Roberts's engagingly personal style connects you to your ancestors, to your own personal beginnings as a single cell and, in a most attractive way, to herself as an author of great charm. From your brain to your fingertips, you emerge from her book entertained and with a deeper understanding of yourself'
- Richard Dawkins

'Witty, personal and above all informed by passion and deep knowledge ... Alice Roberts is our pre-eminent science storyteller'
- Adam Rutherford

'Alice Roberts tells us about the most amazing story on the planet - the creation of the human animal. Nothing is more extraordinary and her guided tour of the human body takes us on a fascinating journey of self-discovery.'
-Desmond Morris

About the Author

Dr. Alice Roberts

Alice Roberts is an anatomist and anthropologist, television presenter, author and Professor of Public Engagement with Science at the University of Birmingham. She has presented Digging for Britain, Coast, Horizon and several series about human evolution – including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us and Prehistoric Autopsy – on BBC Two. She has also presented Inside Science on Radio 4, and writes a regular science column for The Observer. Her previous books include Evolution: The Human Story, The Incredible Human Journey and The Complete Human Body and The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being. She lives near Bristol with her husband and two children.

Author photo © University of Birmingham for Science Uncovered

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999


Dr. Alice Roberts

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