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A preview of Am I a Monkey?

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Francisco J. Ayala's Am I a Monkey? Six Big Questions about Evolution (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010). In the excerpt, Ayala addresses the title question, writing, "I am a primate. Monkeys are primates, but humans are not monkeys. Primates include monkeys, apes, and humans. Humans are more closely related by descent to apes than to monkeys. That is, the apes are our first cousins, so to speak, while the monkeys are our second or third cousins," before proceeding to review the evidence — from comparative anatomy, the fossil record, and comparisons of DNA — for the common ancestry of the primates.

Ayala, a Supporter of NCSE, was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2001. Reviewing Am I a Monkey? for RNCSE, Joel W. Martin wrote, "The book is well-written, accurate, and concise, and it covers the main points of biological evolution likely to be questioned by non-specialists. More importantly, it is accessible and easy to digest for the audience for whom it is written. Because of that strength, I suspect that it will, in the long run, play a larger role in promoting the acceptance of evolution than so many contemporary but longer and more detailed treatises."