Book review: The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex

The Dawn of the Deed: The Prehistoric Origins of Sex
J.A. Long (2012) Kindle Edition
University Of Chicago Press

This was a very fun book to read, but not for the reasons you may think, based on the title. Yes, the book is about sex, but the story is mainly told from the perspective of paleontology. You just have to admire the special ability of a true expert. From my point of view of a paleontology layman, it is absolutely remarkable how the author and collaborators were able to reconstruct the probable history of the oldest embryo from delicate fossils, by painstakingly assembling delicate skeletons and interpreting what they saw. Further, he extended the narrative well beyond just fossils, he went all the way to aspects of molecular and developmental biology.

The book is liberally “sprinkled” with interesting anectdotes taken from the history of science and the writing style is easy to follow and very funny at times. Lots of puns too… I really cannot say that I disliked any part of the book. However, at times he wrote things that made me uncomfortable because they sounded a tad homophobic especially if you read between the lines, but when I kept reading I understood the points that he was trying to make, but only, again, because I kept reading. So, if you,are taken aback by such things, by all means keep reading.

Other reviews that I have seen express some dissapointment for not including more material on humans. Not me. I pretty much know what to expect in such matters. And, anyway, based on the Epilogue, I am entirely sure that Dr. Long is already working on a continuation of the book.

In summary, great job!!!!


Picture credit: University of Chicago Press

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