Author: Mark Maslin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2017-01-26
POPULAR SCIENCE. Humans are rather weak when compared with many other animals. We are not particular fast and have no natural weapons. Yet Homo sapiens currently number nearly 7.5 billion and are set to rise to nearly 10 billion by the middle of this century. We have influenced almost every part of the Earth system and as a consequence are changing the global environmental and evolutionary trajectory of the Earth. So how did we become the worlds apex predator and take over the planet? Fundamental to our success is our intelligence, not only individually but more importantly collectively. But why did evolution favour the brainy ape? Given the calorific cost of running our large brains, not to mention the difficulties posed for childbirth, this bizarre adaptation must have given our ancestors a considerable advantage.
In this work, originally published in Dutch, Rik Smits theorizes that language could not have developed originally as a system of communication. It is, instead, the result of combining separate abilities, each of which developed independently to aid the survival of early humans. Lacking strength and speed, man relies on wisdom for survival. Smits theorizes that human skills in calculation and estimation continued to develop until they were sufficient to accommodate a system as complex as grammar. Only after our linguistic ability emerged could humans think logically and share our reasoning with others, at which point almost everything we now call culture began to flourish. Smits concludes that language cannot have long predated the invention of agriculture in the Middle East, some 14,000 years ago. The huge advance in civilization represented by language made abstract powers of reasoning indispensable for the first time, along with highly developed concepts of identity, past, present, and future, all of which rely upon language. This explanation of the origins of language throws new light on cave paintings by Cro-Magnon man, whose masterpieces date from about 40,000 to 15,000 years ago. Anatomically Cro-Magnons were modern humans, but they had no language in the modern sense. Their absence of language gave them no true sense of individual identity. This translation was made possible by a grant from the Dutch Foundation for Literature.
Author: David Fleminger
Publisher: 30° South Publishers
Release Date: 2008-09-15
Let Southbound take you back to where we came fromâ€”The Cradle of Humankind in the Magaliesberg region of the Gauteng and North West provinces of South Africa and uncover the myths and intricacies of our species in this delightfully entertaining and informative guide. * Ta-dah! Introducing the ancestral cast- Mrs. Ples (or is that Mr.?), the Taung child, Little Foot â€¦ and a host of fossil extras and where they hung outâ€”the caves of Sterkfontein, Kromdraai and Swartkranz * Then digging â€˜em all upâ€”Raymond Dart, Robert Broom, Ron Clarke, Lee Burger et al * History of the area and the people, the fauna and flora * Detailed maps, color photographs, route guides * Comprehensive listings for travellers of places to go, things to see, and accommodation
Author: Scott Solomon
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 2016-10-25
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.
Author: Lee R. Berger
Publisher: National Geographic Books
Release Date: 2017
"In 2013, Lee Berger ... caught wind of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave in South Africa. He put out a call around the world for petite collaborators--men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground. With this team of 'underground astronauts,' Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known prehominids like Lucy, the famous Australopithecus, with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains"
The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History provides an up-to-date guide for the historian working within the growing field of animal-human history. Giving a sense of the diversity and interdisciplinary nature of the field, cutting-edge contributions explore the practices of and challenges posed by historical studies of animals and animal-human relationships. Divided into three parts, the Companion takes both a theoretical and practical approach to a field that is emerging as a prominent area of study. Animals and the Practice of History considers established practices of history, such as political history, public history and cultural memory, and how animal-human history can contribute to them. Problems and Paradigms identifies key historiographical issues to the field with contributors considering the challenges posed by topics such as agency, literature, art and emotional attachment. The final section, Themes and Provocations, looks at larger themes within the history of animal-human relationships in more depth, with contributions covering topics that include breeding, war, hunting and eating. As it is increasingly recognised that nonhuman actors have contributed to the making of history, The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History provides a timely and important contribution to the scholarship on animal-human history and surrounding debates.
An illuminating investigation into the Pleistocene era's dual character as a geologic time and a cultural idea explains the global changes that created our world while describing how ideas about the Pleistocene have shaped intellectual culture, science and modern origins beliefs. 20,000 first printing.
New York Times Bestseller A Summer Reading Pick for President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.” One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas. Dr. Harari also compels us to look ahead, because over the last few decades humans have begun to bend laws of natural selection that have governed life for the past four billion years. We are acquiring the ability to design not only the world around us, but also ourselves. Where is this leading us, and what do we want to become? Featuring 27 photographs, 6 maps, and 25 illustrations/diagrams, this provocative and insightful work is sure to spark debate and is essential reading for aficionados of Jared Diamond, James Gleick, Matt Ridley, Robert Wright, and Sharon Moalem.
Author: Roy Livermore
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2018-03-08
Plate tectonics is a revolutionary theory on a par with modern genetics. Yet, apart from the frequent use of clichés such as 'tectonic shift' by economists, journalists, and politicians, the science itself is rarely mentioned and poorly understood. This book explains modern plate tectonics in a non-technical manner, showing not only how it accounts for phenomena such as great earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, but also how it controls conditions at the Earth's surface, including global geography and climate. The book presents the advances that have been made since the establishment of plate tectonics in the 1960s, highlighting, on the 50th anniversary of the theory, the contributions of a small number of scientists who have never been widely recognized for their discoveries. Beginning with the publication of a short article in Nature by Vine and Matthews, the book traces the development of plate tectonics through two generations of the theory. First generation plate tectonics covers the exciting scientific revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, its heroes and its villains. The second generation includes the rapid expansions in sonar, satellite, and seismic technologies during the 1980s and 1990s that provided a truly global view of the plates and their motions, and an appreciation of the role of the plates within the Earth 'system'. The final chapter bring us to the cutting edge of the science, and the latest results from studies using technologies such as seismic tomography and high-pressure mineral physics to probe the deep interior. Ultimately, the book leads to the startling conclusion that, without plate tectonics, the Earth would be as lifeless as Venus.
Author: Alan Barnard
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2011-03-17
Genre: Social Science
The study of human origins is one of the most fascinating branches of anthropology. Yet it has rarely been considered by social or cultural anthropologists, who represent the largest subfield of the discipline. In this powerful study Alan Barnard aims to bridge this gap. Barnard argues that social anthropological theory has much to contribute to our understanding of human evolution, including changes in technology, subsistence and exchange, family and kinship, as well as to the study of language, art, ritual and belief. This book places social anthropology in the context of a widely-conceived constellation of anthropological sciences. It incorporates recent findings in many fields, including primate studies, archaeology, linguistics and human genetics. In clear, accessible style Barnard addresses the fundamental questions surrounding the evolution of human society and the prehistory of culture, suggesting a new direction for social anthropology that will open up debate across the discipline as a whole.
Author: John F. Hoffecker
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Release Date: 2017-10-31
Modern Humans is a vivid account of the most recent—and perhaps the most important—phase of human evolution: the appearance of anatomically modern people (Homo sapiens) in Africa less than half a million years ago and their later spread throughout the world. Leaving no stone unturned, John F. Hoffecker demonstrates that Homo sapiens represents a “major transition” in the evolution of living systems in terms of fundamental changes in the role of non-genetic information. Modern Humans synthesizes recent findings from genetics (including the rapidly growing body of ancient DNA), the human fossil record, and archaeology relating to the African origin and global dispersal of anatomically modern people. Hoffecker places humans in the broad context of the evolution of life, emphasizing the critical role of genetic and non-genetic forms of information in living systems as well as how changes in the storage, transmission, and translation of information underlie major transitions in evolution. He also draws on information and complexity theory to explain the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa several hundred thousand years ago and the rapid and unprecedented spread of our species into a variety of environments in Australia and Eurasia, including the Arctic and Beringia, beginning between 75,000 and 60,000 years ago. This magisterial work will appeal to all with an interest in the ever-fascinating field of human evolution.
Global warming is arguably the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. This Very Short Introduction provides a concise and accessible explanation of the key topics in the debate: looking at the predicted impact of climate change, exploring the political controversies of recent years, and explaining the proposed solutions. Fully updated for 2008, Mark Maslin's compelling account brings the reader right up to date, describing recent developments from US policy to the UK Climate Change Bill, and where we now stand with the Kyoto Protocol. He also includes a chapter on local solutions, reflecting the now widely held view that, to mitigate any impending disaster, governments as well as individuals must to act together. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
On Human Nature: Biology, Psychology, Ethics, Politics, and Religion covers the present state of knowledge on human diversity and its adaptative significance through a broad and eclectic selection of representative chapters. This transdisciplinary work brings together specialists from various fields who rarely interact, including geneticists, evolutionists, physicians, ethologists, psychoanalysts, anthropologists, sociologists, theologians, historians, linguists, and philosophers. Genomic diversity is covered in several chapters dealing with biology, including the differences in men and apes and the genetic diversity of mankind. Top specialists, known for their open mind and broad knowledge have been carefully selected to cover each topic. The book is therefore at the crossroads between biology and human sciences, going beyond classical science in the Popperian sense. The book is accessible not only to specialists, but also to students, professors, and the educated public. Glossaries of specialized terms and general public references help nonspecialists understand complex notions, with contributions avoiding technical jargon. Provides greater understanding of diversity and population structure and history, with crucial foundational knowledge needed to conduct research in a variety of fields, such as genetics and disease Includes three robust sections on biological, psychological, and ethical aspects, with cross-fertilization and reciprocal references between the three sections Contains contributions by leading experts in their respective fields working under the guidance of internationally recognized and highly respected editors
Author: Jack Williamson
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: 2010-06-08
When a giant meteor crashes into the earth and destroys all life, the small group of human survivors manage to leave the barren planet and establish a new home on the moon. From Tycho Base, men and woman are able to observe the devastated planet and wait for a time when return will become possible. Generations pass. Cloned children have had children of their own, and their eyes are raised toward the giant planet in the sky which long ago was the cradle of humanity. Finally, after millennia of waiting, the descendants of the original refugees travel back to a planet they've never known, to try and rebuild a civilization of which they've never been a part. The fate of the earth lies in the success of their return, but after so much time, the question is not whether they can rebuild an old destroyed home, but whether they can learn to inhabit an alien new world--Earth. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
In this wide-ranging Very Short Introduction to climate, Mark Maslin considers all aspects of the global climate system, exploring and explaining the different components that control climate on Earth. He considers the processes that allow energy to reach the Earth and how it is redistributed around the planet by the ocean-atmosphere system; the relationship and differences between climate and the weather; how climate has affected life on Earth and human settlements; and the cyclic and quasi-cyclic features of climate such as the Milankovitch cycles and El Nino. He concludes by touching on the issue of climate change, and outlines some of the approaches that are now being taken to tackle it. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.