Life Ascending

by Nick Lane
New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. 344 pages.

Jere H. Lipps writes, in his review-essay of Life Ascending, "Nick Lane’s book is terrific, a different presentation of evolution than we have generally had in the past. Lane, a biochemist, has chosen ten 'Great Inventions of Evolution' to write about and to convey 'some of my own thrill in the chase'. And thrilling each chase is. Lane brings his discipline’s insights to the solution of problems that morphologic evolutionists, including paleontologists who have documented the history of life on earth, have struggled with for years. In examining those ten inventions, Lane demonstrates the tools, old and new, of evolutionary probing, and he lays out the key elements of these hypotheses with facts and strong inference. Not everyone will agree with Lane’s top ten, but he very carefully states his reasons for choosing these over other evolutionary developments. In any case, his ten are all critical, important evolutionary innovations in the history of life."