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Evolution of Death, The
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In The Evolution of Death, the follow-up to Becoming Immortal: Combining Cloning and Stem-Cell Therapy, also published by SUNY Press, Stanley Shostak argues that death, like life, can evolve. Observing that literature, philosophy, religion, genetics, physics, and gerontology still struggle to explain why we die, Shostak explores the mystery of death from a biological perspective. Death, Shostak claims, is not the end of a linear journey, static and indifferent to change. Instead, he suggests, the current efforts to live longer have profoundly affected our ecological niche, and we are evolving into a long-lived species. Pointing to the artificial means currently used to prolong life, he argues that as we become increasingly juvenilized in our adult life, death will become significantly and evolutionarily delayed. As bodies evolve, the embryos of succeeding generations may be accumulating the stem cells that preserve and restore, providing the resources necessary to live longer and longer. If trends like this continue, Shostak contends, future human beings may join the ranks of other animals with indefinite life spans.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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  1. Contents
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  1. Illustrations
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-xiv
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  1. Introduction: Death the Mystery
  2. pp. 1-4
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  1. Part I. How Biology Makes Sense of Death
  2. pp. 5-6
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  1. Chapter 1. Evolution: Death’s Unifying Principle
  2. pp. 7-40
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  1. Chapter 2. Charting Death’s Evolution and Life’s Extension
  2. pp. 41-56
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  1. Chapter 3. Rethinking Lifecycles and Arrows
  2. pp. 57-88
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  1. Chapter 4. Keeping Life Afloat
  2. pp. 89-106
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  1. Chapter 5. Putting Cells in the Picture
  2. pp. 107-132
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  1. Chapter 6. Neoteny and Longevity
  2. pp. 133-150
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  1. Afterword
  2. pp. 151-160
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  1. Appendix: Different Forms of Life and Death
  2. pp. 161-172
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 173-196
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  1. Glossary
  2. pp. 197-204
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 205-234
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 235-246
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