Douglas Adams - Richard Dawkins TV - Daniel C Dennett - David Attenborough TV - Horizon TV - Richard Brinsley Sheridan - Eric Cantona - Steven Pinker - Plutarch - Thich Nhat Hanh - I Timothy 1:4 - Titus 3:9 - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - Richard D Hall & Wilson & Blackett TV - Thomas Hardy -
Humans are not proud of their ancestors, and rarely invite them round to dinner. Douglas Adams
If I stood here [Kenya] and held my mother’s hand, and she held her mother’s hand, and she held her mother’s hand – and so on back to the grand ancestor of all humans and all chimpanzees – how far would the line stretch? The answer is about three hundred miles. Professor Richard Dawkins, The Genius of Charles Darwin II, Channel 4 2008
For the first half of geological time our ancestors were bacteria. Most creatures still are bacteria, and each one of our trillions of cells is a colony of bacteria. Richard Dawkins
We now have a rich supply of intermediate fossils linking modern humans to the common ancestor that we share with – chimpanzees. Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth p150
Every one of the millions of species of animals shares an ancestor with every other one. ibid. p152
Once again, humans are not descended from monkeys. We share a common ancestor with monkeys ... Huge leaps in a single generation – which is what a monkey giving birth to a human would be – are almost as unlikely as divine creation. ibid. p155
The common ancestor that we share with chimpanzees lived about six million years ago, or a bit earlier. ibid. p188
All surviving life forms on this planet use the same machine code and we are all descended from a single ancestor. ibid. p410
Every living thing is, from the cosmic perspective, incredibly lucky simply to be alive. Most, 90% and more, of all the organisms that have ever lived have died without viable offspring, but not a single one of your ancestors, going back to the dawn of life on Earth, suffered that normal misfortune. You spring from an unbroken line of winners going back millions of generations, and those winners were, in every generation, the luckiest of the lucky, one out of a thousand or even a million. So however unlucky you may be on some occasion today, your presence on the planet testifies to the role luck has played in your past. Daniel C Dennett, Freedom Evolves
For two years a team of top scientists have been secretly studying a unique fossil. They believe it could be one of our earliest primate ancestors. David Attenborough, Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor
We are on the brink of uncovering a hidden world. A world that connects past and future generations in ways we never imagined possible ... The science of inheritance is being turned on its head. Horizon: The Ghost in Your Genes, BBC 2005
Marcus Pembrey is one of a select band of scientists. A band of scientists who are daring to challenge orthodoxy. They believe the lives of our parents, grand-parents and even our great-grandparents can directly affect our well-being. Despite never experiencing any of these things ourselves. To many these ideas are regarded as scientific heresy. ibid.
Thirty thousand genes didn’t appear enough to explain human complexity. There had to be something they’d missed. The first hints of what was missing lay in the curious paradox of the Pradavillae’ and Angelman’s syndromes: two quite different diseases caused by exactly the same genetic fault. ibid.
Something other than just the DNA was capable of moving between the generations. It was a tantalising glimpse into this unknown and unexpected world. A hidden layer acting on and directly able to control how our genes function. ibid.
If they find the same stress effect in the children’s children on 9/11, then it will be clear that a general memory of a stressful event can travel through the generations. ibid.
Environmental information was being imprinted on the egg and the sperm at the time of their formation. ibid.
The work of these scientists is at last throwing a spotlight on to the mysterious hidden world of epigenetics. They appear to show that the lives of our ancestors have a capacity to affect us directly. ibid.
Hidden on the wild coast of South Africa where the Indian Ocean joins the Atlantic there is a cave. Today it is abandoned but once it teemed with life. For here tens of thousands of years ago some of our earliest ancestors lived. Horizon: The Day We Learned to Think, BBC 2003
When did our ancestors cease being brute animals and first become truly human? When did we learn to think? ibid.
Our ancestors are very good kind of folks; but they are the last people I should choose to have a visiting acquaintance with. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, The Rivals
Acres: Think of that, David – think what it would be to disgrace my ancestors!
David: Under favour, the surest way of not disgracing them, is to keep as long as you can out of their company. ibid.
My ancestors were fighters, something I have inherited. Eric Cantona
I don’t think there was a thunderclap or a divine spark that suddenly made one species smart. You can see, in our ancestors, there was a gradual expansion of the brain; there was an expansion of the complexity of tools. Steven Pinker
It is indeed a desirable thing to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors. Plutarch
If you look deeply into the palm of your hand you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people. Thich Nhat Hanh
Neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God’s stewardship, which is in faith. I Timothy 1:4
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Titus 3:9
The hero draws inspiration from the virtue of his ancestors. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Ancestors: we know more about them than any country in Europe. Richplanet TV: The Forensic Historians IV: King Arthur’s Grave, Wilson & Blackett; viz also On the Edge interview
I am the family face;
Flesh perishes, I live on,
Projecting trait and trace
Through time to times anon,
And leaping from place to place
The years-heired feature that can
In curve and voice and eye
Despise the human span
Of durance - that is I;
The eternal thing in man,
That heeds no call to die. Thomas Hardy, Heredity
‘Under the church of that there parish lie my ancestors – hundreds of ’em – in coats of mail and jewels, in gr’t lead coffins weighing tons and tons. There’s not a man in the country o’ South-Wessex that’s got grander and nobler skillentons in his family than I.’ Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles