In his new book, Steve Jones takes on the challenge of going back to the book of the millennium, Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species. Before The Origin, biology was a set of unconnected facts. Darwin made it into a science, linked by the theory of evolution, the grammar of the living world.It reveals ties between cancer and the genetics of fish, between brewing and inherited disease, between the sex lives of crocodiles and the politics of Brazil. Darwin used the biology of the nineteenth century to prove his case. Now, that science has been revolutionized and his case can be reargued using the twentieth century's astonishing advances.
From AIDS to dinosaurs, from conservation to cloned sheep, bursting with anecdotes, jokes and irresistible facts, Almost Like a Whale is a popular account of the science that makes biology make sense. It will catch the millennial mood and tell all those for whom Darwin is merely a familiar name what he really meant. It exposes the Darwinian delusions which try (and fail) to explain human behaviour in evolutionary terms, and, while giving an up-to-date account of our own past, shows how humans are the first species to step beyond the constraints of biology.
Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College London and has worked at universities in the USA, Australia and Africa. He gave the BBC Reith Lectures in 1991, and presented a successful BBC TV series on human genetics and evolution in 1996. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph and frequently appears on radio and television. His previous books include The Language of the Genes (which won the 1994 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize) and In the Blood (shortlisted for the 1997 Rhone-Poulenc). He won the 1997 Royal Society Faraday Medal for the Public Understanding of Science.