For millennia, people all over the world have revered, adored, and exploited elephants. In Thailand, a pregnant woman ducks under an elephant's belly in hopes of having an easy delivery; a tycoon builds an elephant-shaped skyscraper; and pirate loggers feed amphetamines to their elephants to make them haul back-breaking loads. In India, milling worshippers dance with gilded tuskers at ecstatic temple festivals. From the steppes of Siberia to America's prairies, scientists have proposed restoring lost ecosystems by reintroducing the elephants and mammoths that once ruled them. And generation after generation of readers have delighted in Babar, Horton, and Dumbo.
In a kaleidoscopic account rich in historic lore, surprising science, and exotic adventure, Eric Scigliano traces an age-old, extraordinary relationship between species and shows how it still haunts and inspires us today. He explains how elephants may have been "nursemaids" to human evolution and how they have shaped history, art, religion, and popular culture as no other animals have. He joins a grueling chase after crop-raiding rogues in Sri Lanka and probes the bitter battles over the roles of elephants in zoos and circuses, revealing the enduring ecological importance and mythic fascination of these endangered giants.
This work has become a benchmark of popular anthropology and psychology.Zoologist Desmond Morris considers humans as being simply another animal species in this classic book first published in 1967. Here is the Naked Ape at his most primal in love, at work, at war. Meet man as he really is: relative to the apes, stripped of his veneer as we see him courting, making love, sleeping, socializing, grooming, playing. The Naked Ape takes its place alongside Darwin's Origin of the Species, presenting man not as a fallen angel, but as a risen ape, remarkable in his resilience, energy and imagination, yet an animal nonetheless, in danger of forgetting his origins. With its penetrating insights on mans beginnings, sex life, habits and our astonishing bonds to the animal kingdom, The Naked Ape is a landmark, at once provocative, compelling and timeless.
Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, examines the legendary annihilation in 1883 of the volcano-island of Krakatoa, which was followed by an immense tsunami that killed nearly forty thousand people. The effects of the immense waves were felt as far away as France. Barometers in Bogota and Washington, D.C., went haywire. Bodies were washed up in Zanzibar. The sound of the island's destruction was heard in Australia and India and on islands thousands of miles away. Most significant of all -- in view of today's new political climate -- the eruption helped to trigger in Java a wave of murderous anti-Western militancy among fundamentalist Muslims, one of the first outbreaks of Islamic-inspired killings anywhere. Krakatoa gives us an entirely new perspective on this fascinating and iconic event.
The author of the best-selling The Tao of Physics presents an innovative view of the interrelationships of psychological, biological, and social phenomena, synthesizing the latest alternative theories of evolution and physics. 50,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.
Stem cell research, genetically modified crops, animals developed with personalized human organs for transplantation, and other previously inconceivable biotech applications could increase the quality of all human lives and maximize the health of the biosphere. But ironically, as the science becomes more precise and transparent, it also becomes more contentious. In Challenging Nature, Silver argues that although they seem to have little in common, Christian fundamentalists opposed to embryo research and New Age organic food devotees are both driven by a deeply rooted fear that biotechnology--in some guise--challenges the sovereignty of a higher or deeper transcendent authority. In the short term, Silver writes, Eastern spiritual traditions will give Asian countries a research advantage. But over the millennia, human nature may have the potential to remake Mother Nature in the image of an idealized world.
Referring to Lewis Carroll's Red Queen from Through the Looking-Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity's best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators. The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture -- including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband. Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.
On DEATH . . .
What is shared by spawning Pacific salmon, towering trees, and suicidal bacteria? In his lucid and concise exploration of how and why things die, Tyler Volk explains the intriguing ways creatures-including ourselves-use death to actually enhance life. Death is not simply the end of the living, though even in that aspect the Grim Reaper has long been essential to natural selection. Indeed, the exquisite schemes and styles of death that have emerged from evolution have been essential to the great story from life's beginnings in tiny bacteria nearly four thousand million years ago to ancient human rituals surrounding death and continuing to the existential concerns of human culture and consciousness today. Volk weaves together autobiography, biology, Earth history, and results of fascinating studies that show how thoughts of our own mortality affect our everyday lives, to prove how an understanding of what some have called the ultimate taboo can enrich the celebration of life.
. . . and SEX
In Sex, Dorion Sagan takes a delightful, irreverent, and informative romp through the science, philosophy, and literature of humanity's most obsessive subject. Have you ever wondered what the anatomy and promiscuous behaviors of chimpanzees and the sexual bullying of gorillas tell us about ourselves? Why we lost our hair? What amoebas have to do with desire? Linking evolutionary biology to salacious readings of the lives and thoughts of such notables as the Marquis de Sade and Simone de Beauvoir, and discussing works as varied as The Story of O and Silence of the Lambs, Sex touches on a potpourri of interrelated topics ranging from animal genitalia to sperm competition, the difference between nakedness and nudity, jealousy's status as an aphrodisiac and the origins of language, Casanova and music, ovulation and clothes, mother-in-law jokes and alpha females, love and loneliness. A brief, wonderfully entertaining, highly literate foray into the origins and evolution of sex.
Two books in one cover, Death & Sex unravel and answer some of life's most fundamental questions.
"Admirable, superbly researched . . . perhaps the most exciting tale of science since the apple dropped on Newton's head."
--Simon Winchester, The New York Times
Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin in his London laboratory in 1928 and its eventual development as the first antibiotic by a team at Oxford University headed by Howard Florey and Ernst Chain in 1942 led to the introduction of the most important family of drugs of the twentieth century.
Yet credit for penicillin is largely misplaced. Neither Fleming nor Florey and his associates ever made real money from their achievements; instead it was the American labs that won patents on penicillin's manufacture and drew royalties from its sale. Why this happened, why it took fourteen years to develop penicillin, and how it was finally done is a fascinating story of quirky individuals, missed opportunities, medical prejudice, brilliant science, shoestring research, wartime pressures, misplaced modesty, conflicts between mentors and their prot g s, and the passage of medicine from one era to the next.
L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza and his collaborators Paolo Menozzi and Alberto Piazza have devoted fourteen years to one of the most compelling scientific projects of our time: the reconstruction of where human populations originated and the paths by which they spread throughout the world. In this volume, the culmination of their research, the authors explain their pathbreaking use of genetic data, which they integrate with insights from geography, ecology, archaeology, physical anthropology, and linguistics to create the first full-scale account of human evolution as it occurred across all continents. This interdisciplinary approach enables them to address a wide range of issues that continue to incite debate: the timing of the first appearance of our species, the problem of African origins and the significance of work recently done on mitochondrial DNA and the popular notion of an "African Eve," the controversy pertaining to the peopling of the Americas, and the reason for the presence of non-Indo-European languages--Basque, Finnish, and Hungarian--in Europe.
The authors reconstruct the history of our evolution by focusing on genetic divergence among human groups. Using genetic information accumulated over the last fifty years, they examined over 110 different inherited traits, such as blood types, HLA factors, proteins, and DNA markers, in over eighteen hundred, primarily aboriginal, populations. By mapping the worldwide geographic distribution of the genes, the scientists are now able to chart migrations and, in exploring genetic distance, devise a clock by which to date evolutionary history: the longer two populations are separated, the greater their genetic difference should be. This volume highlights the authors' contributions to genetic geography, particularly their technique for making geographic maps of gene frequencies and their synthetic method of detecting ancient migrations, as for example the migration of Neolithic farmers from the Middle East toward Europe, West Asia, and North Africa.
Beginning with an explanation of their major sources of data and concepts, the authors give an interdisciplinary account of human evolution at the world level. Chapters are then devoted to evolution on single continents and include analyses of genetic data and how these data relate to geographic, ecological, archaeological, anthropological, and linguistic information. Comprising a wide range of viewpoints, a vast store of new and recent information on genetics, and a generous supply of visual elements, including 522 geographic maps, this book is a unique source of facts and a catalyst for further debate and research.