Evolution of Life: Fossils, Molecules and Culture

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Nearly thirty million species of organisms are believed to now live on Earth. In addition to accumulating evidence from classical biology, paleontology and earth science, the recent progress of molecular biology has provided new insights into understanding how present-day organisms have evolved with such tremendous diversity. Molecular biological studies show us that all living forms, including E. coli and human beings, derive from a single ancestor that emerged some 4 billion years ago on Earth. This volume aims to discuss the motifs of organismic evolution from the viewpoints of biogeo-interactions and diversification of the genetic systems. Based on these fundamental understandings, the last section of this volume is devoted to human evolution that includes phylogeny of man as well as evolution of human culture. Such comprehensive discussion will give us a synthesized view of the evolution of life, that is undoubtedly one of the most important problems not only for science but also for human culture in general.