• Origins

  • The Search for Our Prehistoric Past
  • By: Frank H. T. Rhodes
  • Narrated by: Derek Perkins
  • Length: 10 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (385 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In Origins, Frank H. T. Rhodes explores the origin and evolution of living things, the changing environments in which they have developed, and the challenges we now face on an increasingly crowded and polluted planet. Rhodes argues that the future well-being of our burgeoning population depends in no small part on our understanding of life's past, its long and slow development, and its intricate interdependencies.

The book describes the nature of the search for prehistoric life, the significance of geologic time, the origin of life, the emergence and spread of flora and fauna, the evolution of primates, and the emergence of modern humans.

Origins is accessible enough for the layperson but also can be used as an entry-level text for students of evolution, paleontology, and geology.

©2016 Frank H.T. Rhodes (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about Origins

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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poorly written overview of evolutionary biology

The content of this book is seemingly meant to supply a narrative of the main tenants of evolutionary biology across the earth's timeline. But the poor writing, pedantic style of the author, bad organization of the material, injection of superfluous and unrelated examples, and lack of important details on crucial issues showing critique of this approach leave this book tiresome and painful to endure. The reading of the content by this audio book performer further renders this text into an uninspiring range of drivel to rant.

There are dozens of alternatives from which you can garner this information in a more scholarly or lay format, whichever you prefer. Several of the Great Courses provide much better focused learning on segments of this micro and macro evolutionary process. This book is best left off your shelf (physical or electronic).

12 people found this helpful

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Good

Had fun listen to it. He made each chapter a story that gave the whole a charming coherence.

6 people found this helpful

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Thorough, but hard to follow

For someone without a degree in geology, zoology and paleontology following along with all the names of phylums, orders and species without the necessary figures from the print book was a lost cause. The accompanying PDF has only a few figures reproduced and they helped, but for some 'standard' figures I actuallu had to google and some I could look up in my geology undergrad text.

So it is a good text but too hard to follow as an audiobook.

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Great listen!!!

narration was great!!! topics were fun to listen to...i think we as humans have done a pretty good job trying to figure out everything that has happened since the beginnning of time...great book!!! ill surely listen to it again...

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable

Lots of fascinating information packed into this book and really liked to use the accompanying PDF.

Very well narrated too. Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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A very well researched book

Origins is a well written, interesting listen. Frank H.T. Rhodes takes us on an eye opening tour through time. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in where we as a species comes from.

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A lovely broad overview

I was one of those kids who grew up watching way too many National Geographic documentaries at a child, so every once in a while I still love to indulge in content that will not only prove to challenge me, but also broaden my understanding of the natural world. Origins: The Search for Our Prehistoric Past by Frank HT Rhodes, narrated by Derek Perkins, is one such title that, as the the name suggests, digs deep into the origins of life on our planet.

This is an ambitious work, and the periods it covers is vast, but what I really appreciate about it is that it really put into perspective our position as a species when viewing the vast history of life on Earth. Truth be told, our existence as member of the family of great apes is a mere addendum when all is considered. In evolutionary terms, mammals are pretty much latecomers on the planet.

Rhodes not only delves into the history of life on earth, and all the multiple theories and hypotheses lying at the root of our understanding, but he also tells the story of the very early geologists and palaeontologists whose life works contributed to the theories that are currently accepted by the majority of scientists this day. Great care is taken into explaining how the theory of evolution functions, as well as how the taxonomy of living things is executed. It doesn't matter if you know next to nothing or, like me, are an armchair enthusiast – you'll get a wonderful broad overview that acts as a springboard for further study.

To be fair, this is such an enormous topic to cover, but I do think Rhodes does admirably well to paint in broad strokes – especially when it comes to explaining how evolution works. What I appreciated also was the way in which he touched on the reality of extinction, examining the mass extinction-level events or circumstances of the past, as well as reminding readers of the essential ephemeral and somewhat tenuous nature of life.

The only downside to listening to the audiobook is that you don't have ready access to any of the accompanying diagrams or illustrations that you'd find in the printed book, but you can download a handy reference guide as a PDF from the Audible website if you're of a mind to delve deeper.

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Good material bad narrator

The narrator kept mispronouncing "genre" throughout the book. Very annoying..
Material tried to encompass all of evolution so an ambitious undertaking

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Good

Its a bery good book to listen to not to bland and enough information to keep my internet.

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Pretty Interesting Stuff

Especially mind blowing when you think about how long the earth has been spinning in space. Rich in detail.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ghazi
  • 03-19-17

an outstanding book in writing and reading

this is an outstanding book , a labor of care , intelligent and passion... well writing and beautifully read

4 people found this helpful

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  • nonono
  • 08-21-21

A good, interesting listen

I'm a second year undergraduate science student and I very much enjoyed listening to this book. It tells the story of life on our planet in a complete, easy to follow fashion and interwoven with science history. The author's love for his subject clearly shone through with the help of the narrator. This book was free but I would have been happy to pay for it as it is a well written piece.

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  • Ginger
  • 09-07-22

Fascinating

I liked the breadth and the detail. This is the biggest story ever told so, finding, it needed great concentration, I slowed the speed to .9x. I also found it essential to have a clear guide to the periods of Earth’s four and a half billion year history next to me. However, it was worth the effort. Mind opening and fascinating.

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  • Nikki
  • 07-12-22

A fascinating tour of evolutionary history

I really enjoyed this, it has plenty of detail so perhaps not ideal as a first introduction but wonderful if it's a topic you are already lightly familiar with. A touch repetitive here and there, I think reflecting a text not designed to be converted to audio really. Still engaging and informative throughout though.

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  • Richard Tol
  • 04-14-22

Boring

This is a laundry list of laundry lists, interspersed with random bits of biography and some platitudes, and a fair bit of repetition. It came free with my Audible subscription and I got my money's worth!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-05-22

Great Summary

This was a great explanation, and description of the origins of life on Earth. The book sets the scene, so that the big steps that led to homosapiens make sense.

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  • Stephenodonnell
  • 10-15-21

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book

A deep and wide insight into evolution told as an exciting trip through fossil records. I learned so much. Loved it