Armed with extraordinary new discoveries about our genes, acclaimed science writer Matt Ridley turns his attention to the nature-versus-nurture debate in a thoughtful book about the roots of human behavior.
Ridley recounts the hundred years' war between the partisans of nature and nurture to explain how this paradoxical creature, the human being, can be simultaneously free-willed and motivated by instinct and culture. With the decoding of the human genome, we now know that genes not only predetermine the broad structure of the brain, they also absorb formative experiences, react to social cues, and even run memory. They are consequences as well as causes of the will.
The book is comprehensive in scope, covering the first century of the history of DNA in its entirety, including the eight decades that have been neglected by other authors. It also explores the personalities of the main players, the impact of their entanglement with DNA, and what unique qualities make great scientists tick.
"Nothing less than a tour de force--a heady amalgam of science, history, a little bit of anthropology and plenty of nuanced, captivating storytelling."--The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
A National Geographic Best Book of 2017
In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species--births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away--until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story--from 100,000 years ago to the present.
The richest, freshest, most fun book on genetics in some time. The New York Times Book Review
We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human RaceChristine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. While somebooks explore our genetic inheritance and popular television shows celebrate ancestry, this is the first book to explore how everything from DNA to emotions to namesand the stories that form our lives are all part of our human legacy. Kenneally shows how trust is inherited in Africa, silence is passed down in Tasmania, and how thehistory of nations is written in our DNA. From fateful, ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces thatshaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it.
The Invisible History of the Human Race is a deeply researched, carefully crafted and provocative perspective on how our stories, psychology, and genetics affect our
past and our future."
With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, author Jacky Colliss Harvey (herself a redhead) begins her exploration of red hair in prehistory and traces the redhead gene as it made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora to its emergence under Northern skies. She goes on to explore red hair in the ancient world; the prejudice manifested against red hair across medieval Europe; red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness during the Inquisition and the height of fashion in Protestant England, under the reign of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; the modern age of art and literature, and the first positive symbols of red hair in children's characters; modern medicine and science and the genetic and chemical decoding of red hair; and finally, red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising and exploitation to "gingerism"and the new movement against bullying.
Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of the study of social biology, and have forced thousands of readers to rethink their beliefs about life.
In his internationally bestselling, now classic volume, The Selfish Gene, Dawkins explains how the selfish gene can also be a subtle gene. The world of the selfish gene revolves around savage competition, ruthless exploitation, and deceit, and yet, Dawkins argues, acts of apparent altruism do exist in nature. Bees, for example, will commit suicide when they sting to protect the hive, and birds will risk their lives to warn the flock of an approaching hawk.
This 30th anniversary edition of Dawkins' fascinating book retains all original material, including the two enlightening chapters added in the second edition. In a new Introduction the author presents his thoughts thirty years after the publication of his first and most famous book, while the inclusion of the two-page original Foreword by brilliant American scientist Robert Trivers shows the enthusiastic reaction of the scientific community at that time. This edition is a celebration of a remarkable exposition of evolutionary thought, a work that has been widely hailed for its stylistic brilliance and deep scientific insights, and that continues to stimulate whole new areas of research today.
The recent discovery of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (nicknamed "the Hobbit") in Indonesia has sparked new interest in the study of human evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned evolutionary scholar Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to today's latest fossil finds. Along the way we are introduced to the lively cast of characters, past and present, involved in evolutionary research. Although concentrating on the fossil evidence for human evolution, the book also covers the latest genetic evidence about regional variations in the modern human genome that relate to our evolutionary history. Wood draws on over thirty years of experience to provide an insiders view of the field, and demonstrates that our understanding of human evolution is critically dependent on advances in related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology. This is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the origins and development of humankind.