Author: Richard C. Francis
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-05-25
“An essential read for anyone interested in the stories of the animals in our home or on our plate.”—BBC Focus Without our domesticated plants and animals, human civilization as we know it would not exist. We would still be living at subsistence level as hunter-gatherers if not for domestication. It is no accident that the cradle of civilization—the Middle East—is where sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and cats commenced their fatefully intimate association with humans. Before the agricultural revolution, there were perhaps 10 million humans on earth. Now there are more than 7 billion of us. Our domesticated species have also thrived, in stark contrast to their wild ancestors. In a human-constructed environment—or man-made world—it pays to be domesticated. Domestication is an evolutionary process first and foremost. What most distinguishes domesticated animals from their wild ancestors are genetic alterations resulting in tameness, the capacity to tolerate close human proximity. But selection for tameness often results in a host of seemingly unrelated by-products, including floppy ears, skeletal alterations, reduced aggression, increased sociality, and reduced brain size. It's a package deal known as the domestication syndrome. Elements of the domestication syndrome can be found in every domesticated species—not only cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, cattle, and horses but also more recent human creations, such as domesticated camels, reindeer, and laboratory rats. That domestication results in this suite of changes in such a wide variety of mammals is a fascinating evolutionary story, one that sheds much light on the evolutionary process in general. We humans, too, show signs of the domestication syndrome, which some believe was key to our evolutionary success. By this view, human evolution parallels the evolution of dogs from wolves, in particular. A natural storyteller, Richard C. Francis weaves history, archaeology, and anthropology to create a fascinating narrative while seamlessly integrating the most cutting-edge ideas in twenty-first-century biology, from genomics to evo-devo.
Author: Mark Derr
Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co
Release Date: 2012-09-17
That the dog evolved from the wolf is an accepted fact of evolution, but the question of how wolf became dog has remained a mystery, obscured by myth and legend. How the Dog Became the Dog presents the 'domestication' of the dog as a biological and cultural process that began with cooperation and has taken a number of radical turns since. At the end of the last Ice Age, the first dogs emerged with their humans from refuge against the cold. In the eighteenth century, humans began the drive to exercise full control of dog reproduction, life and death, to complete the domestication of the wolf that began so long ago.
Author: Raymond Pierotti
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2017-11-28
A riveting look at how dog and humans became best friends, and the first history of dog domestication to include insights from indigenous peoples In this fascinating book, Raymond Pierotti and Brandy Fogg change the narrative about how wolves became dogs and in turn, humanity’s best friend. Rather than describe how people mastered and tamed an aggressive, dangerous species, the authors describe coevolution and mutualism. Wolves, particularly ones shunned by their packs, most likely initiated the relationship with Paleolithic humans, forming bonds built on mutually recognized skills and emotional capacity. This interdisciplinary study draws on sources from evolutionary biology as well as tribal and indigenous histories to produce an intelligent, insightful, and often unexpected story of cooperative hunting, wolves protecting camps, and wolf-human companionship. This fascinating assessment is a must-read for anyone interested in human evolution, ecology, animal behavior, anthropology, and the history of canine domestication.
Author: Pat Shipman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2015
Humans domesticated dogs soon after Neanderthals began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, Pat Shipman hypothesizes, made possible unprecedented success in hunting large Ice Age mammals—a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for human invaders at a time when climate change made both humans and Neanderthals vulnerable.
We know dogs are our best animal friends, but have you ever thought about what that might mean? Fossils show we’ve shared our work and homes with dogs for tens of thousands of years. Now there’s growing evidence that we influenced dogs’ evolution—and they, in turn, changed ours. Even more than our closest relatives, the apes, dogs are the species with whom we communicate best. Combining history, paleontology, biology, and cutting-edge medical science, Kay Frydenborg paints a picture of how two different species became deeply entwined—and how we coevolved into the species we are today.
Author: Richard C. Francis
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2011-06-13
Goodbye, genetic blueprint. . . . The first book for general readers on the game-changing field of epigenetics. The burgeoning new science of epigenetics offers a cornucopia of insights—some comforting, some frightening. For example, the male fetus may be especially vulnerable to certain common chemicals in our environment, in ways that damage not only his own sperm but also the sperm of his sons. And it’s epigenetics that causes identical twins to vary widely in their susceptibility to dementia and cancer. But here’s the good news: unlike mutations, epigenetic effects are reversible. Indeed, epigenetic engineering is the future of medicine.
Author: Lee Alan Dugatkin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2017-03-23
In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to speed up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. They started with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication. Within a decade the experiments had resulted in puppy-like foxes with floppy ears, piebald spots, and curly tails. Along with these physical changes came genetic and behavioral changes, as well. Dugatkin and Trut examine the adventure, science, politics, and love behind it all.
Author: Bruce Hood
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2014-05-01
What makes us social animals? Why do we behave the way we do? How does the brain influence our behaviour? The brain may have initially evolved to cope with a threatening world of beasts, limited food and adverse weather, but we now use it to navigate an equally unpredictable social landscape. In The Domesticated Brain, renowned psychologist Bruce Hood explores the relationship between the brain and social behaviour, looking for clues as to origins and operations of the mechanisms that keep us bound together. How do our brains enable us to live together, to raise children, and to learn and pass on information and culture? Combining social psychology with neuroscience, Hood provides an essential introduction to the hidden operations of the brain, and explores what makes us who we are.
Author: Joseph Henrich
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Release Date: 2015-10-27
Humans are a puzzling species. On the one hand, we struggle to survive on our own in the wild, often failing to overcome even basic challenges, like obtaining food, building shelters, or avoiding predators. On the other hand, human groups have produced ingenious technologies, sophisticated languages, and complex institutions that have permitted us to successfully expand into a vast range of diverse environments. What has enabled us to dominate the globe, more than any other species, while remaining virtually helpless as lone individuals? This book shows that the secret of our success lies not in our innate intelligence, but in our collective brains—on the ability of human groups to socially interconnect and learn from one another over generations. Drawing insights from lost European explorers, clever chimpanzees, mobile hunter-gatherers, neuroscientific findings, ancient bones, and the human genome, Joseph Henrich demonstrates how our collective brains have propelled our species' genetic evolution and shaped our biology. Our early capacities for learning from others produced many cultural innovations, such as fire, cooking, water containers, plant knowledge, and projectile weapons, which in turn drove the expansion of our brains and altered our physiology, anatomy, and psychology in crucial ways. Later on, some collective brains generated and recombined powerful concepts, such as the lever, wheel, screw, and writing, while also creating the institutions that continue to alter our motivations and perceptions. Henrich shows how our genetics and biology are inextricably interwoven with cultural evolution, and how culture-gene interactions launched our species on an extraordinary evolutionary trajectory. Tracking clues from our ancient past to the present, The Secret of Our Success explores how the evolution of both our cultural and social natures produce a collective intelligence that explains both our species' immense success and the origins of human uniqueness.
Author: Alice Roberts
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2017-10-19
Genre: Social Science
**'A masterpiece of evocative scientific storytelling.' BRIAN COX** **'Will appeal to fans of Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens'. Mail on Sunday ** The extraordinary story of the species that became our allies. Dogs became our companions Wheat fed a booming population Cattle gave us meat and milk Maize fuelled the growth of empires Potatoes brought us feast and famine Chickens led us to wonder about tomorrow Rice promised us a golden future Horses gave us strength and speed Apples travelled with us HUMANS TAMED THEM ALL For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals to stay alive – until they began to tame them. Combining archaeology and cutting-edge genetics, Tamed tells the story of the greatest revolution in human history and reveals the fascinating origins of ten crucial domesticated species; and how they, in turn, transformed us. In a world creaking under the strain of human activity, Alice Roberts urges us to look again at our relationship with the natural world – and our huge influence upon it. AN ECONOMIST AND MAIL ON SUNDAY 'BOOK OF THE YEAR' 2017
Author: Paul Gepts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2012-02-23
The introduction of plant and animal agriculture represents one of the most important milestones in human evolution. It contributed to the development of cities, alphabets, new technologies, and ultimately to civilizations, but it has also presented a threat to both human health and the environment. Bringing together research from a range of fields including anthropology, archaeology, ecology, economics, entomology, ethnobiology, genetics and geography, this book addresses key questions relating to agriculture. Why did agriculture develop and where did it originate? What are the patterns of domestication for plants and animals? How did agroecosystems originate and spread from their locations of origin? Exploring the cultural aspects of the development of agricultural ecosystems, the book also highlights how these topics can be applied to our understanding of contemporary agriculture, its long-term sustainability, the co-existence of agriculture and the environment, and the development of new crops and varieties.