The Science of Human Evolution

Getting it Right
Author: John H. Langdon
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3319415859
Category: Science
Page: 220
View: 2519
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This textbook provides a collection of case studies in paleoanthropology demonstrating the method and limitations of science. These cases introduce the reader to various problems and illustrate how they have been addressed historically. The various topics selected represent important corrections in the field, some critical breakthroughs, models of good reasoning and experimental design, and important ideas emerging from normal science.

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life


Author: Dacher Keltner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393073351
Category: Science
Page: 352
View: 6079
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“A landmark book in the science of emotions and its implications for ethics and human universals.”—Library Journal, starred review In this startling study of human emotion, Dacher Keltner investigates an unanswered question of human evolution: If humans are hardwired to lead lives that are “nasty, brutish, and short,” why have we evolved with positive emotions like gratitude, amusement, awe, and compassion that promote ethical action and cooperative societies? Illustrated with more than fifty photographs of human emotions, Born to Be Good takes us on a journey through scientific discovery, personal narrative, and Eastern philosophy. Positive emotions, Keltner finds, lie at the core of human nature and shape our everyday behavior—and they just may be the key to understanding how we can live our lives better. Some images in this ebook are not displayed owing to permissions issues.

How We Do It

The Evolution and Future of Human Reproduction
Author: Robert Martin
Publisher: Basic Books (AZ)
ISBN: 0465030157
Category: Science
Page: 320
View: 1078
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A primatologist explores the mystery of the origins of human reproduction, explaining that understanding the evolutionary past can provide insight into what worked, what didn't, and what it all means for the future of mankind.

Future Humans

Inside the Science of Our Continuing Evolution
Author: Scott Solomon
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300208715
Category: Science
Page: 192
View: 7442
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Are humans still subject to the forces of evolution? An evolutionary biologist provides surprising insights into the future of Homo sapiens In this intriguing book, evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon draws on the explosion of discoveries in recent years to examine the future evolution of our species. Combining knowledge of our past with current trends, Solomon offers convincing evidence that evolutionary forces still affect us today. But how will modernization--including longer lifespans, changing diets, global travel, and widespread use of medicine and contraceptives--affect our evolutionary future? Solomon presents an entertaining and accessible review of the latest research on human evolution in modern times, drawing on fields from genomics to medicine and the study of our microbiome. Surprising insights, on topics ranging from the rise of online dating and Cesarean sections to the spread of diseases such as HIV and Ebola, suggest that we are entering a new phase in human evolutionary history--one that makes the future less predictable and more interesting than ever before.

The Accidental Species

Misunderstandings of Human Evolution
Author: Henry Gee
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022604498X
Category: Science
Page: 232
View: 3525
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The idea of a missing link between humanity and our animal ancestors predates evolution and popular science and actually has religious roots in the deist concept of the Great Chain of Being. Yet, the metaphor has lodged itself in the contemporary imagination, and new fossil discoveries are often hailed in headlines as revealing the elusive transitional step, the moment when we stopped being “animal” and started being “human.” In The Accidental Species, Henry Gee, longtime paleontology editor at Nature, takes aim at this misleading notion, arguing that it reflects a profound misunderstanding of how evolution works and, when applied to the evolution of our own species, supports mistaken ideas about our own place in the universe. Gee presents a robust and stark challenge to our tendency to see ourselves as the acme of creation. Far from being a quirk of religious fundamentalism, human exceptionalism, Gee argues, is an error that also infects scientific thought. Touring the many features of human beings that have recurrently been used to distinguish us from the rest of the animal world, Gee shows that our evolutionary outcome is one possibility among many, one that owes more to chance than to an organized progression to supremacy. He starts with bipedality, which he shows could have arisen entirely by accident, as a by-product of sexual selection, moves on to technology, large brain size, intelligence, language, and, finally, sentience. He reveals each of these attributes to be alive and well throughout the animal world—they are not, indeed, unique to our species. The Accidental Species combines Gee’s firsthand experience on the editorial side of many incredible paleontological findings with healthy skepticism and humor to create a book that aims to overturn popular thinking on human evolution—the key is not what’s missing, but how we’re linked.

Cosmosapiens: Human Evolution from the Origin of the Universe


Author: John Hands
Publisher: The Overlook Press
ISBN: 146831324X
Category: Science
Page: 704
View: 2359
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The book that transforms our understanding of what we are and where we came from. Specialist scientific fields are developing at incredibly swift speeds, but what can they really tell us about how the universe began and how we humans evolved to play such a dominant role on Earth? John Hands’s extraordinarily ambitious quest is to bring together this scientific knowledge and evaluate without bias or preconception all the theories and evidence about the origin and evolution of matter, life, consciousness, and humankind. This astonishing book provides the most comprehensive account yet of current ideas such as cosmic inflation, dark energy, the selfish gene, and neurogenetic determinism. In the clearest possible prose it differentiates the firmly established from the speculative and examines the claims of various fields such as string theory to approach a unified theory of everything. In doing so it challenges the orthodox consensus in those branches of cosmology, biology, and neuroscience that have ossified into dogma. Its striking analysis reveals underlying patterns of cooperation, complexification, and convergence that lead to the unique emergence in humans of a self-reflective consciousness that enables us to determine our future evolution. This groundbreaking book is destined to become a classic of scientific thinking. (67 black and white illustrations)

Ancestors in Our Genome

The New Science of Human Evolution
Author: Eugene E. Harris
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199978034
Category: Science
Page: 226
View: 4768
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In 2001, scientists were finally able to determine the full human genome sequence, and with the discovery began a genomic voyage back in time. Since then, we have sequenced the full genomes of a number of mankind's primate relatives at a remarkable rate. The genomes of the common chimpanzee (2005) and bonobo (2012), orangutan (2011), gorilla (2012), and macaque monkey (2007) have already been identified, and the determination of other primate genomes is well underway. Researchers are beginning to unravel our full genomic history, comparing it with closely related species to answer age-old questions about how and when we evolved. For the first time, we are finding our own ancestors in our genome and are thereby gleaning new information about our evolutionary past. In Ancestors in Our Genome, molecular anthropologist Eugene E. Harris presents us with a complete and up-to-date account of the evolution of the human genome and our species. Written from the perspective of population genetics, and in simple terms, the book traces human origins back to their source among our earliest human ancestors, and explains many of the most intriguing questions that genome scientists are currently working to answer. For example, what does the high level of discordance among the gene trees of humans and the African great apes tell us about our respective separations from our common ancestor? Was our separation from the apes fast or slow, and when and why did it occur? Where, when, and how did our modern species evolve? How do we search across genomes to find the genomic underpinnings of our large and complex brains and language abilities? How can we find the genomic bases for life at high altitudes, for lactose tolerance, resistance to disease, and for our different skin pigmentations? How and when did we interbreed with Neandertals and the recently discovered ancient Denisovans of Asia? Harris draws upon extensive experience researching primate evolution in order to deliver a lively and thorough history of human evolution. Ancestors in Our Genome is the most complete discussion of our current understanding of the human genome available.

Dawn of Man

The Story of Human Evolution
Author: Robin McKie
Publisher: Dk Pub
ISBN: N.A
Category: Science
Page: 216
View: 4309
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Traces the origins and evolution of human beings, from the earliest prehistoric fossil record to the latest evidence based on genetic research.

Evolution


Author: Stephen Baxter
Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN: 9780345457844
Category: Fiction
Page: 592
View: 4504
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It’s the job of a science fiction writer to visualize extrapolations of the future. But there are those who go far beyond, venturing into realms of breathtaking science. That kind of cutting edge talent is as rare as a supernova—and, in its own way, just as powerful. Arthur C. Clarke had it. So did William Gibson. Now, with Evolution, Stephen Baxter delivers what is sure to be one of the most talked-about books of the year—and shows once again why he belongs among the select company of science fiction writers who matter. Stretching from the distant past into the remote future, from primordial Earth to the stars, Evolution is a soaring symphony of struggle, extinction, and survival, a dazzling epic that combines a dozen scientific disciplines and a cast of unforgettable characters to convey the grand drama of evolution in all its awesome majesty and rigorous beauty. Sixty-five million years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, lived a small mammal, a proto-primate of the species Purgatorius. From this humble beginning, Baxter traces the human lineage forward through time. The adventure that unfolds is a gripping odyssey governed by chance and competition, a perilous journey to an uncertain destination along a route beset by sudden and catastrophic upheavals. It is a route that ends, for most species, in stagnation or extinction. Why should humanity escape this fate? A generation from today, a group of concerned scientists—distant descendants of that primitive Purgatorius—gathers on a remote island to discuss this very question. The ceaseless expansion of human civilization has triggered an urgent environmental crisis that must be solved now if the Earth is to survive as a place hospitable to human life. But just when a peaceful solution seems within reach, two acts of shocking violence set in motion a cataclysmic chain of events that will expose the limitations of human intellect and adaptability in the face of the blind and implacable processes of Darwin’s dangerous idea. From the Hardcover edition.

Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind


Author: Mark Pagel
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393065871
Category: Science
Page: 416
View: 1893
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An evolutionary biologist explores the concept of culture and how it influenced our collective human behaviors from the beginning of evolution through modern times and offers new insights on how art, morality and altruism and self-interest define being human. 20,000 first printing.

Radical Evolution

The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies--and what it Means to be Human
Author: Joel Garreau
Publisher: Broadway
ISBN: 0767915038
Category: Science
Page: 384
View: 7970
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Arguing that the acceleration of technological innovation is setting the course for the next stage of human evolution, the author of Edge City raises thought-provoking questions about human culture, society, and the very nature of humankind. Reprint. 15,000 first printing.

Who We Are and How We Got Here

Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
Author: David Reich
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0198821255
Category: DNA
Page: 368
View: 7057
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David Reich describes how the revolution in the ability to sequence ancient DNA has changed our understanding of the deep human past. This book tells the emerging story of our often surprising ancestry - the extraordinary ancient migrations and mixtures of populations that have made us who we are.

Why We Get Sick

The New Science of Darwinian Medicine
Author: Randolph M. Nesse,George C. Williams
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 0307816001
Category: Health & Fitness
Page: 304
View: 6860
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The next time you get sick, consider this before picking up the aspirin: your body may be doing exactly what it's supposed to. In this ground-breaking book, two pioneers of the science of Darwinian medicine argue that illness as well as the factors that predispose us toward it are subject to the same laws of natural selection that otherwise make our bodies such miracles of design. Among the concerns they raise: When may a fever be beneficial? Why do pregnant women get morning sickness? How do certain viruses "manipulate" their hosts into infecting others? What evolutionary factors may be responsible for depression and panic disorder? Deftly summarizing research on disorders ranging from allergies to Alzheimer's, and form cancer to Huntington's chorea, Why We Get Sick, answers these questions and more. The result is a book that will revolutionize our attitudes toward illness and will intrigue and instruct lay person and medical practitioners alike. From the Trade Paperback edition.

50 Great Myths of Human Evolution

Understanding Misconceptions about Our Origins
Author: John H. Relethford
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0470673923
Category: Science
Page: 304
View: 720
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50 Great Myths of Human Evolution uses common misconceptions to explore basic theory and research in human evolution and strengthen critical thinking skills for lay readers and students. Examines intriguing—yet widely misunderstood—topics, from general ideas about evolution and human origins to the evolution of modern humans and recent trends in the field Describes what fossils, archaeology, and genetics can tell us about human origins Demonstrates the ways in which science adapts and changes over time to incorporate new evidence and better explanations Includes myths such as “Humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs;” “Lucy was so small because she was a child;” “Our ancestors have always made fire;” and “There is a strong relationship between brain size and intelligence” Comprised of stand-alone essays that are perfect for casual reading, as well as footnotes and references that allow readers to delve more deeply into topics

Rethinking Human Evolution


Author: Jeffrey H. Schwartz
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262037327
Category: Science
Page: 384
View: 1807
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The study of human evolution often seems to rely on scenarios and received wisdom rather than theory and methodology, with each new fossil or molecular analysis interpreted as supporting evidence for the presumed lineage of human ancestry. We might wonder why we should pursue new inquiries if we already know the story. Is paleoanthropology an evolutionary science? Are analyses of human evolution biological? In this volume, contributors from disciplines that range from paleoanthropology to philosophy of science consider the disconnect between human evolutionary studies and the rest of evolutionary biology. All of the contributors reflect on their own research and its disciplinary context, considering how their fields of inquiry can move forward in new ways. The goal is to encourage a more multifaceted intellectual environment for the understanding of human evolution. Topics discussed include paleoanthropology's history of procedural idiosyncrasies; the role of mind and society in our evolutionary past; humans as large mammals rather than a special case; genomic analyses; computational approaches to phylogenetic reconstruction; descriptive morphology versus morphometrics; and integrating insights from archaeology into the interpretation of human fossils. ContributorsMarkus Bastir, Fred L. Bookstein, Claudine Cohen, Richard G. Delisle, Robin Dennell, Rob DeSalle, John de Vos, Emma M. Finestone, Huw S. Groucutt, Gabriele A. Macho, Fabrizzio Mc Manus, Apurva Narechania, Michael D. Petraglia, Thomas W. Plummer, J.W. F. Reumer, Jeff Rosenfeld, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Dietrich Stout, Ian Tattersall, Alan R. Templeton, Michael Tessler, Peter J. Waddell, Martine Zilversmit

The Story of the Human Body

Evolution, Health, and Disease
Author: Daniel Lieberman
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030774180X
Category: Science
Page: 460
View: 5678
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In this book the author, a Harvard evolutionary biologist presents an account of how the human body has evolved over millions of years, examining how an increasing disparity between the needs of Stone Age bodies and the realities of the modern world are fueling a paradox of greater longevity and chronic disease. It illuminates the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. The author also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, the author argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. The author proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of 'dysevolution,' a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally, he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. -- From publisher's web site.

Behave

The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
Author: Robert M. Sapolsky
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0735222789
Category: Science
Page: 800
View: 603
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Why do we do the things we do? Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going--next to what features of the environment affected that person's brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual's group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

Evolution's Bite

A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins
Author: Peter S. Ungar
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400884756
Category: Science
Page: 248
View: 6565
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What teeth can teach us about the evolution of the human species Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite, noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth—their shape, chemistry, and wear—reveal how we came to be. Ungar describes how a tooth's "foodprints"—distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear—provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors, what Ungar calls the biospheric buffet. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence—and the scars on our teeth—Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans. Traveling the four corners of the globe and combining scientific breakthroughs with vivid narrative, Evolution's Bite presents a unique dental perspective on our astonishing human development.

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

The Stories in Our Genes
Author: Adam Rutherford
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
ISBN: 9781780229072
Category:
Page: 432
View: 1485
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This is a story about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique to you, as it is to each of the 100 billion modern humans who have ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration and a lot of sex. In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about human history, and what history can now tell us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be.