The Development of an Extraordinary Species
We human beings share 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. Yet humans are the dominant species on the planet -- having founded civilizations and religions, developed intricate and diverse forms of communication, learned science, built cities, and created breathtaking works of art -- while chimps remain animals concerned primarily with the basic necessities of survival. What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins? In this fascinating, provocative, passionate, funny, endlessly entertaining work, renowned Pulitzer Prizewinning author and scientist Jared Diamond explores how the extraordinary human animal, in a remarkably short time, developed the capacity to rule the world . . . and the means to irrevocably destroy it....Continua
A wide-ranging book, covering the rise to prominence of humans and their imminent downfall, either due to a nuclear holocaust (less likely) or environmental destruction (very likely).
everytime i read jared diamond's books i seriously feel smarter, if only for the brief period i still remember what i read.
in only 300-odd pages he manages to give us a history of how we got from chimpanzees all the way to modern humans, and how we've managed to change the planet in the past, and how we might be changing it in future (not so optimistic in that sense).
have heard about this book for so long and glad to have finally read it....Continua
This is a very ambitious book... to argue that... we, human, is just 98% chimpangzee... We are not much different from other animals... in many ways:
1. Other animals are not less murdourous than human... they are just less efficient
2. we are mildly heterogamy from the fact that male is slightly bigger than women... both men and women eager to cheat.... a study showed that 10% of baby are not their "father" kid... implying a wide-spread extramaritial relationship. The author did not explain why female want affairs too, though it is too obvious for male to do it.
3. Indo-Eurpoean race originated from the Eastern edge of Russia... why? Because they have the only species of wild horse that can be domesticated... And once equipped with horse, they conquered many part of Europe up to Hungary, and the second, third waves of racial / language change follow. The same for India I think... where the Arian equipped with horse conquered the local Indian... and establish Caste system... a systematic racial discrimination still evilly rule the country till now
4. Farming is just a mixed blessing... the old hunter-gatherer did not work longer than farmer, enjoy better health, longer life-span, less bad teeth, taller, and a lot more equal society. That's why farming only spread very slowly. But why do we all convert into farmer then? It is because Farming can support a lot more people. The farmers out-numbered hunter-gatherer... and remove them from all usuable land.
5. Fine art is uniquely human?? Haha.. actually elephant make very expensive contemporary art... same do chimp... and the author argue that we animal all have the art urge, just need the leisure time to do it... And, brower bird use art as an exhibite of male superiority in strength, vision, taste, etc, to attract female... Art is a very useful tool to attract female and can convert into money even in the old age....Continua
In Your Inner Fish, A Journey Into the 3.5 - Billion - Year History of the Human Body, Dr. Neil Shubin details how evolutionary adaptations in the early history of life on earth helped to shape, and left their stamp on the human form.
Professor Shubin begins the book with a chapter detailing his discovery of Tiktaalik roseae, an important transitional fish species, fossilized in a remote region of northern Canada. He then proceeds to show how important aspects of human anatomy can be traced back to the limbs of this primitive fish, how discoveries about stages of embryo development can shine a light on how genes work to build our bodies, and how our current body structures evolved from our more primitive ancestors, all the way, comparing parts of human anatomy with earlier, more primitive forms in other animals, from fish to jellyfish, to anemones to bacteria.
Shubin may well be one of the best writers of popular science today. I recommend this book heartily to anyone who wants to learn a lot more about themselves and the natural world....Continua
A very intelligent, provocative, and at times very humorous book. He spent the first half examining the current dominate theories and became increasingly speculative towards the end.
If I have to pick one instance, I find his explanation on why men smoke the most memorable. Read this some time ago but this observation of his as well as many others still pop into my head whenever i go people-watching. Oh so much fun....Continua