“This is exactly the kind of book that should be a ‘set text’ for a reinvigorated science curriculum: engaging, thought-provoking and bang up to the minute. If your teachers aren’t recommending books like this – go out and get them anyway.” —Guy Claxton, author of What’s the Point of School?
“Written with great wit and a pleasure to read … forces one to reflect thoroughly on the puzzle of human evolution, on where we came from and where we may be heading.” —Frans B. M. de Waal (in praise of the adult edition), New York Times
“Plenty of provocative ideas in this grand sweep of evolutionary biology and anthropology: not surprising for this MacArthur ‘genius’ Award winner, Natural History columnist, and UCLA Medical School physiology professor.” —Kirkus Reviews (in praise of the adult edition)
Introduction: what makes us human?
part one: just another big mammal
chapter 1: a tale of three chimps
chapter 2: the great leap forward
part two: a strange life cycle
chapter 3: human sexuality
chapter 4: the origin of human races
chapter 5: why do we grow old and die?
part three: uniquely human
chapter 6: the mystery of language
chapter 7: animal origins of art
chapter 8: agriculture, for better and worse
chapter 9: why do we smoke, drink, and use dangerous drugs?
chapter 10: alone in a crowded universe
part four: world conquerors
chapter 11: the last first contacts
chapter 12: accidental conquerors
chapter 13: in black and white
part five: reversing our progress overnight
chapter 14: the golden age that never was
chapter 15: blitzkrieg and thanksgiving in the new world
chapter 16: the second cloud
Afterword : nothing learned, everything forgotten?
Photograph and Illustration Credits
About the Authors