A collection of essays by the head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania has its central core in the recency of man, his development, genetic endowments and the enormous, interlined complexity of life. Eiseley's observations, his brooding, his researchings and his confessions are a journey which seeks ""to explore, to understand and to enjoy the miracles of this world, both in and out of science"", and which uses fossils, prairie dogs, primates, the magic of water, the ocean depths, the progress of ""the snout"", flowers and plants, birds, the brain and robots to illustrate and emphasize his thinking. A prowling, unconventional record -- a model of a personal universe -- this follows beginnings and changes, time and nature, scientific inquiry with its wrong and right answers, in a manner which extends the senses concerning the mystifying emergence of man. A book for grave pleasure, for contemplative and stimulating enjoyment, this is also happy in its elegance of style, and its underlying phiolosphy which denies materialism. About half of this material has appeared in several magazines.