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David Quammen: Tangled Tree

September 26, 2018

Biologists from the 19th Century well into the 20th Century have often pictured the evolution of life as an ever branching tree. The roots symbolized some prehistoric simple organism, while the crown and upper branches represented “higher life” like the vertebrates. Of course, humans were at the highest branches. But recent biological research has shown that the Tree of Life is not so simple and terms like “horizontal gene transfer” and “infective heredity” have changed the way we think about what constitutes a species, how evolution occurs, and even ourselves. On this episode of Inquiry, we welcome science writer DAVID QUAMMEN. He will be talking about his new book THE TANGLED TREE: A RADICAL NEW HISTORY OF LIFE.