The Loom

Man Meets Ape

The Descent of Man, Concise Edition.jpg

The history of science is rife with fateful meetings. The astronomer Tycho Brahe hires a young assistant named Johannes Kepler, who will go on to discover in Brahe’s observations the law of planetary motion. A bright but aimless British physicist named Francis Crick is introduced to a boisterous young American biologist named James Watson. The two soon discover they share a curiosity about a strange molecule called DNA. And on a warm afternoon in the early spring of 1838, the young Charles Darwin climbed into an orangutan’s cage.

That’s the start of my introduction to the recently published The Descent of Man: The Concise Edition. I’ve posted more of it at my web site. Check it out.


  1. #1 The Ethical Atheist
    February 25, 2008

    Looks pretty interesting. I may order it once I get back to the apartment.

  2. #2 Richard Zimmerman
    February 26, 2008

    HI Carl–
    “In 1838 Darwin climbed into an orangutans’ cage…” 170 years later what do you suppose Darwin would make of the situation facing orangutans in the wild?

    Unlike mountain gorillas and bonobos, who have the sad misfortune of finding themselves trapped in the midst of violent civil strife, the orangutans of Borneo and Sumatra are instead facing an utterly senseless extinction at the hands of corporate interests. The palm oil industry is committing what can arguably be called a genocide against one of mankind’s closest kin….

    I invite you and your readers to visit the Orangutan Outreach website. We are a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing public attention to the plight of wild orangutans and raising funds for our projects on the ground in Borneo– the most prominent of which is the Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. It has been featured on the BBC and most recently on Animal Planet’s ‘Orangutan Island’.

    We now care for over 650 orphaned orangutans– and they need all the help they can get!

    It would be interesting to hear what you have to say about the orangutan crisis… Keep up the phenomenal work! Rich

    Richard Zimmerman
    Director, Orangutan Outreach
    Reach out and save the orangutans!

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