Saturday, August 25, 2018

Book Challenge: Day 7: The Tangled Tree

Sometime after the Big Bang, life on Earth emerged.

That statement summarizes hundreds of years of gathered wisdom about the human condition, while leaving vast oceans of questions still to be answered. I love knowing that brilliant minds around the world are constantly nibbling away at the unknown. Their stories amaze me and make me wonder about life in general and my own life, asking myself the questions that fuel our curiosity:

Who are we?
Where did we come from?
Why are we here?

Currently I'm reading The Tangled Tree which replaces the lovely and comprehensible plant-animal tree-of-life of my childhood with a simple-looking, three-pronged branch of Bacteria-Archaea-Eukarya, based on characteristics that can only be seen in a high-tech lab. (I'm only 39% through the book and the author has already warned me that this, too, might change.)

The "Natural System" tree of Woese, Kandler and Wheelis, 1990.
Like many things in life, it seems as if we can comprehend it, we don't fully understand it. 

I was already prepared for the Bacteria part of this development after reading 10% Human which helped me respect the mass of bacteria that makes up my body and have a better understanding of how to feed and care for that important aspect of myself. And, Bill Bryson's book delighted me with his, as states, "sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it."

I am grateful for authors who can simplify and translate science into stories and information that I can understand and relate to.

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