99% Ape

How evolution adds up

Edited by Jonathan Silvertown

In 99% Ape: How evolution adds up leading experts explain this fundamental yet often complex subject and guide the general reader through the latest evidence.

978 0 565 09231 3
November 2008
253 x 192 mm
224 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


Charles Darwin was mocked for suggesting that humans have apes for ancestors, but every scientific advance in the study of life in the last 150 years has confirmed the reality of evolution. In 99% Ape: How evolution adds up leading experts explain this fundamental yet often complex subject and guide the general reader through the latest evidence. They explore our own origins and the genealogy of living things, as well as highlighting some of the key turning points in evolutionary history.

Read the latest research on Darwin’s finches and how new species evolve, uncover the flaws in ‘intelligent design’, find out what evolution has to say about psychology, the development of the human mind and morality, and how we are still evolving.

With the use of colour illustrations and clear diagrams throughout, this is a comprehensive introduction to evolution and the latest thinking on the subject.

See inside

Take a look inside this book to get an idea of its design and content.

Pages from 99% Ape

99% Ape is illustrated with colour photographs, maps and diagrams throughout.

Pages from 99% Ape

The book explores human ancestry.

Pages from 99% Ape

Find out how eyes illustrate how complex organs can evolve by natural selection.

Pages from 99% Ape

Discover why insect eyes have features that human eyes lack.

Pages from 99% Ape

Extinct and extant amphibians.

Pages from 99% Ape

Feathered fossils.

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The flowers of evolution.

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Pages from chapter 14: The race from Africa.

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Why be good? The development of morality is discussed.


The book is a collaboration by experts at The Open University. 

Editor and contributor Jonathan Silvertown is an evolutionary biologist in the Department of Life Sciences and is internationally known for his research on the evolution and ecology of plants.

Peter Skelton is a palaeobiologist in the Department of Earth Sciences and is recognised internationally as an authority on fossil bivalves and their evolution.

Monica Grady is Professor of Planetary and Space Science at the Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute, and one of the world’s leading meteorite experts.

Caroline Pond is Professor of Comparative Anatomy in the Department of Biological Sciences. Richard Dawkins described her as “the zoologists’ zoologist”.

David Robinson is a zoologist and evolutionary biologist in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Gary Slapper is Professor of Law at the Open University Business School and has a long-standing interest in legal battles over the teaching of Darwinism in the USA.

Daniel Nettle worked at the Open University from 2001 to 2004, and is currently Reader in the Centre for Evolution and Behaviour at Newcastle University.


Find out what others think of this book.

"An accessible introduction to evolution from the Open University. The book covers the history of the theory and the supporting evidence. Short but sweet with plenty of great photos."

BBC Focus magazine

"This absorbing book introduces the fundamentals of evolution and highlights the many advances since."

Good Book Guide

"99% Ape is an excellent introduction to the discussions of the Darwin year."

Biologist: Journal of the Institute of Biology

"...where, then, to go for a balanced account when the subject (evolution) is so complex and the positions so opposed? This new book from the Natural History Museum fits the bill perfectly."

Current Archaeology magazine

"A fascinating introduction to the subject."

The Bookseller

"…brief, pithy and delightfully illustrated and will be particularly attractive to secondary school students. It concisely presents the evidence for evolution."

The Times Literary Supplement

"It is in my opinion a terrific success and I simply do not know a better introduction to the subject, aimed at students and general readers…All in all, a very nice survey of the big issues, with no ducking from the problems. Highly recommended!"

History and Philosophy of Life Science Journal