Simon Conway Morris holds an ad hominem Chair in Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the University of Cambridge. A
Fellow of St John's College, and also of the Royal Society, his research interests include the study of Burgess
Shale-type faunas, the first appearance of skeletons, and the
Cambrian explosion, while his interests
extend to the science/religion debate and the public
understanding of science.
He became known to the general public through the publication of The Crucible of Creation (1998), his book about the ‘Cambrian Explosion’, that is, the appearance of new life forms, including many of the present phyla of the animal kingdom, during the Cambrian age (about 540 million years ago). He also captured attention with his stance against Stephen Jay Gould’s claim that the world is contingent and that we are a 'happy accident' of history. On the contrary, claims Conway Morris, we were meant to be as soon as the Cambrian Explosion had taken place, if not before.
He is published in Nature and Cell, among
other peer-reviewed journals. With V2_, he published The Deep Pattern of Life, in Information Is Alive (2003). In the same year, he published Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe, which starts
I am a bipedal hominid, of average cranial capacity, write my manuscripts with a fountain pen, and loathe jogging. Thanks to years of work by innumerable biologists I, or anyone else,
can tell you to a fair degree of accuracy when the ability to walk
upright began, the rate at which our brain increased to its present and
seemingly astonishing size, and the origin of the five-fingered
forelimb whose present versatility allows me to hold a pen, not to
mention the fishy origin of those lungs that make such a noise as the
joggers pass me early in the morning on Cambridge’s Midsummer Common.
Read an abstract on his research interests: http://www.esc.cam.ac.uk/people/academic-staff/simon-conway-morris