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The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From

The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From

by

Why cracking the code of human conception took centuries of wild theories, misogynist blunders, and ludicrous mistakes

Throughout most of human history, babies were surprises. People knew the basics: men and women had sex, and sometimes babies followed. But beyond that the origins of life were a colossal mystery. The Seeds of Life is the remarkable and rollicking story of how a series of blundering geniuses and brilliant amateurs struggled for two centuries to discover where, exactly, babies come from.

Taking a page from investigative thrillers, acclaimed science writer Edward Dolnick looks to these early scientists as if they were detectives hot on the trail of a bedeviling and urgent mystery. These strange searchers included an Italian surgeon using shark teeth to prove that female reproductive organs were not 'failed' male genitalia, and a Catholic priest who designed ingenious miniature pants to prove that frogs required semen to fertilize their eggs.

A witty and rousing history of science, The Seeds of Life presents our greatest scientists struggling-against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices-to uncover how and where we come from.

Title:The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From
ISBN:0465082955
Format Type:
Number of Pages:320 pages
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    The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come From Reviews

  • Melora

    Pop-science history in comic mode, I found this endlessly fascinating and funny! Dolnick traces the history of the scientific inquiry into the mystery of where babies come from, starting with the inve...

  • Kathryn

    A fascinating journey through misogynistic scientists (the author is very apologetic about that, it's sweet) fumbling in the dark to discover just what DOES need to happen for a baby to be created. Mr...

  • Stephanie

    We take so much of our understanding of the world for granted, so it's really hard to remember that there was a time- a long, long, LONG time- when no one knew where babies came from. They knew that s...

  • Riaz Rizvi

    Excellent story about the process of scientific discovery, specifically here on how we determined the secret of fertilization over the centuries. Obviously better instrumentation is a key player, micr...

  • The Irregular Reader

    For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half ha...

  • The Irregular Reader

    For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half ha...

  • Sara

    Where do babies come from? This is an exploration into the discoveries that lead to fertilization's discovery. Though I did find a few chapters a little tedious I think overall this book hit the mark....

  • David

    A wonder-filled, wonderfully-told narrative of the brilliant and befuddled people who, for thousands of years, tried to figure out how babies came into being, and why they often looked like both the m...

  • Jim

    The mystery of how babies are born took centuries to unravel. This is the story of all the missteps and harebrained theories develped and discarded along the way, told in a clear and fascinating manne...

  • Matt

    This was an well-researched, readable, and at times hilarious tour through the history of reproductive science. Science history can be a dull topic in the wrong hands, but Dolnick was able to keep my ...