As is often the case, the subtitle of this book carries the main message: given the presence of life on our planet the evolution of something like humans is inevitable, but none the less the number of planets in the universe fit for life, and on which life is present, may be very limited indeed. Perhaps, even, there is only the one. The two halves of that statement sound paradoxical, so how does Simon Conway Morris arrive there?

The main part of the book presents numerous examples of evolutionary convergence: of similar biological solutions evolved under adaptational pressures more than...

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