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1 INTRODUCTION There are few peoples on Earth who do not have a creation myth. The Native American Iroquois believe the world and everything on it was created by Sky People, the ancient Japanese believed the world was created by gods who grew from a single green shoot and many people today still fervently believe that the universe was created in one form or another by a god. This little book tells the remarkable tale of a modern creation story that has been meticulously pieced together over the last century and a half by hundreds of thousands of botanists, zoologists, chemists and biologists working all across the world. Instead of the rich symbolism of myth or the rote certitudes of religious doctrine, it is generally couched in the difficult language of experimental science. Still as terrifying to as many people today as it was when first publicised by Charles Darwin in 1859, it tells the unlikely tale of a bacterium that became a kind of worm, that became a fish, that became a reptile, that became a sort of rodent, who became an ape, who became a human, who left Africa, and became you. Like many creation myths it sounds fantastic. Like all good stories it is full of sex, death, family struggles, kindness and friendship. It is a story some people have only just heard for the first time, others never before, because we are only now filling in the details. And yet the story is not finished at all, it is still unfolding. If we survive the era of mass extinctions we are manufacturing for our fellow travelers on this little earthcrusted ball of fire, we will become other things yet.
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