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.
In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease. The Story of the Human Body brilliantly illuminates as never before 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. Lieberman 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, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Lieberman 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—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. (With charts and line drawings throughout.)
Author: Daniel Lieberman
Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date: 2013-10-03
Story of the Human Body explores how the way we use our bodies is all wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, if normal is defined as what most people have done for millions of years, then it's normal to walk and run 9 -15 kilometers a day to hunt and gather fresh food which is high in fibre, low in sugar, and barely processed. It's also normal to spend much of your time nursing, napping, making stone tools, and gossiping with a small band of people. Our 21st-century lifestyles, argues Dan Lieberman, are out of synch with our stone-age bodies. Never have we been so healthy and long-lived - but never, too, have we been so prone to a slew of problems that were, until recently, rare or unknown, from asthma, to diabetes, to - scariest of all - overpopulation. Story of the Human Body asks how our bodies got to be the way they are, and considers how that evolutionary history - both ancient and recent - can help us evaluate how we use our bodies. How is the present-day state of the human body related to the past? And what is the human body's future? Daniel Lieberman is the Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and a leader in the field. He has written nearly 100 articles, many appearing in the journals Nature and Science, and his cover story on barefoot running in Nature was picked up by major media the world over. His research and discoveries have been highlighted in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Discover, and National Geographic.
Author: Daniel Lieberman
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2011-01
Dan Lieberman has written an innovative, exhaustively researched and carefully argued book dealing with the evolution of the human head. In it he addresses three interrelated questions. First, why does the human head look the way it does? Second, why did these transformations occur? And third, how is something as complex and vital as the head so variable and evolvable? This book addresses these questions in three sections. The first set of chapters review how human and ape heads grow, both in terms of individual parts (organs and regions) and as an integrated whole. The second section reviews how the head performs its major functions: housing the brain, chewing, swallowing, breathing, vocalizing, thermoregulating, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and balancing during locomotion. The final set of chapters review the fossil evidence for major transformations of the head during human evolution from the divergence of the human and ape lineages through the origins of Homo sapiens. These chapters use developmental and functional insights from the first two sections to speculate on the developmental and selective bases for these transformations.
Author: David B. Burr
Publisher: Academic Press
Release Date: 2013-06-11
This book provides an overview of skeletal biology from the molecular level to the organ level, including cellular control, interaction and response; adaptive responses to various external stimuli; the interaction of the skeletal system with other metabolic processes in the body; and the effect of various disease processes on the skeleton. The book also includes chapters that address how the skeleton can be evaluated through the use of various imaging technologies, biomechanical testing, histomorphometric analysis, and the use of genetically modified animal models. Presents an in-depth overview of skeletal biology from the molecular to the organ level Offers "refresher" level content for clinicians or researchers outside their areas of expertise Boasts editors and many chapter authors from Indiana and Purdue Universities, two of the broadest and deepest programs in skeletal biology in the US; other chapter authors include clinician scientists from pharmaceutical companies that apply the basics of bone biology
Evolution and Medicine provides an accessible introduction to the new field of evolutionary medicine. Evolutionary concepts help explain why we remain vulnerable to disease, how pathogens and cancer cells evolve, and how the diseases that affected our evolutionary ancestors have shaped our biology.
Here is the story of Jerry Weintraub: the self-made, Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised impresario, Hollywood producer, legendary deal maker, and friend of politicians and stars. No matter where nature has placed him--the club rooms of Brooklyn, the Mafia dives of New York's Lower East Side, the wilds of Alaska, or the hills of Hollywood--he has found a way to put on a show and sell tickets at the door. "All life was a theater and I wanted to put it up on a stage," he writes. "I wanted to set the world under a marquee that read: 'Jerry Weintraub Presents.'" In WHEN I STOP TALKING, YOU'LL KNOW I'M DEAD, we follow Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen. Along the way, we'll watch as Jerry moves from the poker tables of Palm Springs (the games went on for days), to the power rooms of Hollywood, to the halls of the White House, to Red Square in Moscow and the Great Palace in Beijing-all the while counseling potentates, poets, and kings, with clients and confidants like George Clooney, Bruce Willis, George H. W. Bush, Armand Hammer, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, John Denver, Bobby Fischer . . .well, the list goes on forever. And of course, the story is not yet over . . .as the old-timers say, "The best is yet to come." As Weintraub says, "When I stop talking, you'll know I'm dead." With wit, wisdom, and the cool confidence that has colored his remarkable career, Jerry chronicles a quintessentially American journey, one marked by luck, love, and improvisation. The stories he tells and the lessons we learn are essential, not just for those who love movies and music, but for businessmen, entrepreneurs, artists . . . everyone.
Author: Randolph M. Nesse
Release Date: 2012-02-08
Genre: Health & Fitness
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.
Author: Hugh Aldersey-Williams
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2014-05-19
Combining science, history, and culture, explores every aspect of human anatomy from ancient body art to modern plastic surgery, discussing why some people are left-handed and why some cultures think the soul resides in the liver.
Author: Peter Gluckman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-03-17
Evolutionary science is critical to an understanding of integrated human biology and is increasingly recognised as a core discipline by medical and public health professionals. Advances in the field of genomics, epigenetics, developmental biology, and epidemiology have led to the growing realisation that incorporating evolutionary thinking is essential for medicine to achieve its full potential. This revised and updated second edition of the first comprehensive textbook of evolutionary medicine explains the principles of evolutionary biology from a medical perspective and focuses on how medicine and public health might utilise evolutionary thinking. It is written to be accessible to a broad range of readers, whether or not they have had formal exposure to evolutionary science. The general structure of the second edition remains unchanged, with the initial six chapters providing a summary of the evolutionary theory relevant to understanding human health and disease, using examples specifically relevant to medicine. The second part of the book describes the application of evolutionary principles to understanding particular aspects of human medicine: in addition to updated chapters on reproduction, metabolism, and behaviour, there is an expanded chapter on our coexistence with micro-organisms and an entirely new chapter on cancer. The two parts are bridged by a chapter that details pathways by which evolutionary processes affect disease risk and symptoms, and how hypotheses in evolutionary medicine can be tested. The final two chapters of the volume are considerably expanded; they illustrate the application of evolutionary biology to medicine and public health, and consider the ethical and societal issues of an evolutionary perspective. A number of new clinical examples and historical illustrations are included. This second edition of a novel and popular textbook provides an updated resource for doctors and other health professionals, medical students and biomedical scientists, as well as anthropologists interested in human health, to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying human health and disease.
From one of our finest and most popular science writers, the best-selling author of Your Inner Fish, comes the answer to a scientific mystery story as big as the world itself: How have astronomical events that took place millions of years ago created the unique qualities of the human species? In his last book, Neil Shubin delved into the amazing connections between human anatomy—our hands, our jaws—and the structures in the fish that first took over land 375 million years ago. Now, with his trademark clarity and exuberance, he takes an even more expansive approach to the question of why we are the way we are. Starting once again with fossils, Shubin turns his gaze skyward. He shows how the entirety of the universe's 14-billion-year history can be seen in our bodies. From our very molecular composition (a result of stellar events at the origin of our solar system), he makes clear, through the working of our eyes, how the evolution of the cosmos has had profound effects on the development of human life on earth. From the Hardcover edition.
The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year, Anatomies by Hugh Aldersey-Williams, author of bestseller Periodic Tales, is a splendidly entertaining journey through the art, science, literature and history of the human body. 'Magnificent, inspired. He writes like a latter-day Montaigne. Stimulating scientific hypotheses, bold philosophic theories, illuminating quotations and curious facts. I recommend it to all' Telegraph ***** 'Splendid, highly entertaining, chock-full of insights ... It inserts fascinating scientific snippets and anecdotes about our organs into the wider history of our changing understanding of our bodies' Sunday Times 'A relentlessly entertaining cultural history of the human body ... brims with fascinating details, infectious enthusiasm ... the terrain he covers is so richly brought to life' Guardian 'Elegant and informative ... For Aldersey-Williams, [the body] is a thing of wonder and a repository of fascinating facts' Mail on Sunday **** In Anatomies, bestselling author Hugh Aldersey-Williams investigates that marvellous, mysterious form: the human body. Providing a treasure trove of surprising facts, remarkable stories and startling information drawn from across history, science, art and literature - from finger-prints to angel physiology, from Isaac Newton's death-mask to the afterlife of Einstein's brain - he explores our relationship with our bodies and investigates our changing attitudes to the extraordinary physical shell we inhabit. 'More than a science book - it's also history, biography and autobiography - Anatomies is writing at its most refined, regardless of genre' Sunday Times Praise for Periodic Tales: 'Science writing at its best ... fascinating and beautiful ... if only chemistry had been like this at school ... to meander through the periodic table with him ... is like going round a zoo with Gerald Durrell ... a rich compilation of delicious tales, but it offers greater rewards, too' Matt Ridley 'Immensely engaging and continually makes one sit up in surprise' Sunday Times 'Splendid ... enjoyable and polished' Observer 'Full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well ... an agreeable jumble of anecdote, reflection and information' Sunday Telegraph 'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes ... sharp and often witty' Financial Times Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. His previous book Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been published in many languages around the world. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.
Author: Jeremy Taylor
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2015-10-22
We think of medical science and doctors as focused on treating conditions—whether it’s a cough or an aching back. But the sicknesses and complaints that cause us to seek medical attention actually have deeper origins than the superficial germs and behaviors we regularly fault. In fact, as Jeremy Taylor shows in Body by Darwin, we can trace the roots of many medical conditions through our evolutionary history, revealing what has made us susceptible to certain illnesses and ailments over time and how we can use that knowledge to help us treat or prevent problems in the future. In Body by Darwin, Taylor examines the evolutionary origins of some of our most common and serious health issues. To begin, he looks at the hygiene hypothesis, which argues that our obsession with anti-bacterial cleanliness, particularly at a young age, may be making us more vulnerable to autoimmune and allergic diseases. He also discusses diseases of the eye, the medical consequences of bipedalism as they relate to all those aches and pains in our backs and knees, the rise of Alzheimer’s disease, and how cancers become so malignant that they kill us despite the toxic chemotherapy we throw at them. Taylor explains why it helps to think about heart disease in relation to the demands of an ever-growing, dense, muscular pump that requires increasing amounts of nutrients, and he discusses how walking upright and giving birth to ever larger babies led to a problematic compromise in the design of the female spine and pelvis. Throughout, he not only explores the impact of evolution on human form and function, but he integrates science with stories from actual patients and doctors, closely examining the implications for our health. As Taylor shows, evolutionary medicine allows us think about the human body and its adaptations in a completely new and productive way. By exploring how our body’s performance is shaped by its past, Body by Darwin draws powerful connections between our ancient human history and the future of potential medical advances that can harness this knowledge.
Author: Matthew D. Lieberman
Release Date: 2013-10-08
We are profoundly social creatures--more than we know. In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world--other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill. According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten. Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions. Yet, new research using fMRI--including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab--shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure. Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world. We have a unique ability to read other people’s minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another. And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives. This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good. These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational, but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species. Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications. Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped. The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.