In 1809, when Darwin was born, much of the world was an unexplored wilderness. Our knowledge of the past was nonexistent, and our picture of our species' history little more than a set of fantastic myths and fairytales. But a new era was dawning. Five decades later, On the Origin of the Species was able to draw on the pioneering work of explorers and naturalists to produce a theory that revolutionized our conception of our world. And the revolution didn't stop with the publication of Darwin's masterwork. 150 years later, his 'dangerous idea' is still headline news, denied by many, capable of enraging and dividing, even as biologists decipher the 3-billion-year history of life as written in our very DNA.
This book tells the stories of the most dramatic adventures and important discoveries in two centuries of natural history - from Alexander von Humboldt's epic journeys in South America to the hi-tech genome-reading projects making headlines today - and how they gave birth to and have nourished the evolution revolution.