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The Runes of Evolution
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About the Author

Simon Conway Morris is a leading evolutionary biologist and best known for his work on the Cambrian explosion (especially the Burgess Shale) and evolutionary convergence. He is also active in public outreach, especially in the area of science and religion where he also published extensively. A frequent guest on radio, and also with many television appearances, he has pioneered an extremely successful website on convergence (www.mapoflife.org) and is now constructing a new one addressing the wider issues of evolution. Based in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, where he holds the chair in evolutionary palaeobiology, he is also a fellow of St. John's College. His work has taken him to many parts of the world, including China, Mongolia, and Greenland.

Reviews

"The runes of evolution spell out a surprising message: Some evolutionary outcomes are virtually inevitable. Or, so goes the argument of Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris, resting on two key premises: Evolution repeats itself in unexpected ways: Very different lineages evolve to have similar traits. Conway Morris calls this 'convergence.'Precursors of complex traits, such as a nervous system, are found in much simpler organisms. Conway Morris calls this 'evolutionary inherency.' The premises are supported with a wealth of data thousands of references across the book s 27 chapters.

The intriguing tale is told by way of a journey over many different areas in which we find convergence and inherency, with touches of humour along the way." ZacharyArdern, "BioLogos""


Conway Morris s exploration of the phenomenon of convergence in biological evolution is rife with implications for Christian theology. It lends credence to a Christian view of God s providential action in history, and it supports an ecological view of the interdependence of all things in God s creation. It also fits with a scriptural account of a story-shapedworld. IanCurran, Christian Century"

"The runes of evolution spell out a surprising message: Some evolutionary outcomes are virtually inevitable. Or, so goes the argument of Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris, resting on two key premises:

  1. Evolution repeats itself in unexpected ways: Very different lineages evolve to have similar traits. Conway Morris calls this 'convergence.'
  2. Precursors of complex traits, such as a nervous system, are found in much simpler organisms. Conway Morris calls this 'evolutionary inherency.' The premises are supported with a wealth of data--thousands of references across the book's 27 chapters.

The intriguing tale is told by way of a journey over many different areas in which we find convergence and inherency, with touches of humour along the way." --Zachary Ardern, BioLogos


"Conway Morris's exploration of the phenomenon of convergence in biological evolution is rife with implications for Christian theology. It lends credence to a Christian view of God's providential action in history, and it supports an ecological view of the interdependence of all things in God's creation. It also fits with a scriptural account of a story-shaped world." --Ian Curran, Christian Century

"This is a very good book. The author is most effective when presenting his evidence as both glaringly obvious and unfairly maligned. Not everyone will like the volume's familiar tone, but the overall excellence of the writing is hard to deny. Many of the book's grandest ideas were already covered in his previous publications, but The Runes of Evolution is nevertheless Conway Morris' most comprehensive statement on convergence to date, and is thus well worth reading." --Abraham H. Gibson, Quarterly Review of Biology (September 2017)

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