"The author of the best-selling Your Inner Fish, now gives us a lively and accessible account of the great transformations in the history of life, that enable us to further understand whether our presence on this planet is an accident or inevitable. The great transformations in the history of life brought about whole scale shifts in how animals live and how their bodies are organized: the evolution of fish to land-living creature, the origin of birds, the beginnings of bodies in single-celled creatures. Shubin describes how over the last half-century, scientists have been able to explore how genetic recipes build bodies during embryological development--how these inventions and adaptations occur in a nonprogressive manner in different contexts, at different speeds. Paleontology has been transformed over the last 50 years by tools and techniques of molecular biology--and it is that revolution in our understanding of the evolution of life that Shubin traces here. Each of us is a mosaic of precursors that came about at different times and places, with deep rooted connections across species that Darwin, for all he understood, could never even have imagined"-- Provided by publisher.