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Rethinking the ‘Tangled Tree’ of Life

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“We are composites of various creatures,” the science writer David Quammen says. “We are mosaics.”

Mr. Quammen’s new book, “The Tangled Tree,” tells the story of how we came to learn that Darwin’s branches of evolution are not so separate from each other as we once thought.

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On this week’s podcast, Mr. Quammen talks about how, in the 1990s and early 2000s, scientists made some “boggling discoveries” that revealed that “the tree of life is not a tree; it is a tangled, contorted, web-like, net-like intermingling of events, crossovers and convergences — as well as divergences — of lineages.”

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