Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived
Over the past 180 years scientists have sifted through evidence that at least twenty-seven human species have evolved on planet Earth. And as you may have noticed, twenty-six of them are no longer with us, done in by their environment, predators, disease, or the unfortunate shortcomings of their... show more
Over the past 180 years scientists have sifted through evidence that at least twenty-seven human species have evolved on planet Earth. And as you may have noticed, twenty-six of them are no longer with us, done in by their environment, predators, disease, or the unfortunate shortcomings of their DNA. What enabled us to survive when so many other human species were shown the evolutionary door? Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived by acclaimed science journalist Chip Walter tells the intriguing tale of how against all odds and despite nature's brutal and capricious ways we stand here today, the only surviving humans, and the planet's most dominant species.Drawing on a wide variety of scientific disciplines, Walter reveals how a rare evolutionary phenomenon led to the uniquely long childhoods that make us so resourceful and emotionally complex. He looks at why we developed a new kind of mind and how our highly social nature has shaped our moral (and immoral) behavior. And in exploring the traits that enabled our success, he plumbs the roots of our creativity and investigates why we became self-aware in ways that no other animal is. Along the way, Last Ape Standing profiles other human species who evolved with us and who have also shaped our kind in startling ways - the Neanderthals of Europe, the "Hobbits" of Indonesia, the Denisovans of Siberia, and the recently discovered Red Deer Cave people of China, who died off just as we stood at the brink of civilizations eleven thousand years ago.Last Ape Standing is an engaging and accessible story that explores the forces that molded us into the peculiar and astonishing creature that we are.
Publish date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Walker & Company
Pages no: 240
Edition language: English
, Book Club
, Natural History
The author does a very good job at explaining why us humans are so special. He looks at our journey from the ape to humans and focuses in on the development of our brain and how our long childhood past birth helps explain how we became human. Our ability to symbolically represent abstract objects ...
Up to date review of our understanding of Homo Sapiens evolution. Loved this book.
Very enjoyable description of the various -- currently 27 -- different "human" species discovered so far. How they are similar, how they differ, how they are reflected in modern humans. I did notice occasionally a lack of supporting evidence for his descriptions of various traits in other species,...