1st Edition

A Most Improbable Story The Evolution of the Universe, Life, and Humankind

By Steven J. Theroux Copyright 2023
    318 Pages 26 Color & 28 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    318 Pages 26 Color & 28 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    318 Pages 26 Color & 28 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This book is a "Big History" of the evidence regarding how we came to be. It briefly explores philosophical thought and how our past might affect our future. The text summarizes different perspectives, including the strengths and weaknesses of each. The genesis of our planet is explored, especially the circumstances that must exist for complex life to arise. This brief journey highlights the history of life, the emergence of simple lifeforms, and the evolution of complex creatures, including humans. The book concludes with a discussion of why other humanoids went extinct while our species achieved dominance. The author speculates on potentialities awaiting humankind and our planet.

    • The first "Big History" written from the perspective of a biologist
    • Summarizes multiple perspectives of history
    • Documents the unique conditions for the emergence of life
    • Speculates on the future

    Chapter 12 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com



    Perspective Matters, But Perspective Isn’t Everything – Envisioning

    Humankind’s Place in the Universe

    Part I: The Making of a Habitable World

    1. In the Beginning – The Genesis of the Universe

    2. The Life and Death of a Star

    3. The Milky Way – A Goldilocks Galaxy

    4. The Galactic Cradle

    5. The Inimitable Earth

    Part II: The Emergence of Life From a Lifeless World

    6. Let There Be Life - The Rise of the Prokaryotes

    7. Evolution – The Generator of Life’s Diversity

    8. The Birth of the Superkingdoms – Prokaryotes, Achaea, and


    9. Partnering Up – The Journey from Single Cell Eukaryotes to

    Multicellular Animals

    10. The Blossoming of Terrestrial Life

    11. The Emergence of Genus Homo – The Earth’s First Humans Come

    Into Being

    12. The Genesis of Behaviorally Modern Homo sapiens – A Cognitively

    Advanced Human That Can Reflect Upon Its Existence

    13. Peering into Life’s Future



    Steven J. Theroux was Professor and Chair of the Natural Sciences department at Assumption University in Massachusetts. He currently teaches Genetics and Biology of Cancer at Harvard University and Assumption University.