Vintage, Octavo, paperback, illustrations.
How our animal heritage affects the way we live.
Vintage, Octavo, paperback, illustrations.
“I have seen yesterday. I know tomorrow.” This inscription in Tutankhamun’s tomb summarizes The Fifth Beginning. Here, archaeologist Robert L. Kelly explains how the study of our cultural past can predict the future of humanity.
In an eminently readable style, Kelly identifies four key pivot points in the six-million-year history of human development: the emergence of technology, culture, agriculture, and the state. In each example, the author examines the long-term processes that resulted in a definitive, no-turning-back change for the organization of society. Kelly then looks ahead, giving us evidence for what he calls a fifth beginning, one that started about AD 1500. Some might call it “globalization”, but the author places it in its larger context: a five-thousand-year arms race, capitalism’s global reach, and the cultural effects of a worldwide communication network.
Kelly predicts that the emergent phenomena of this fifth beginning will include the end of war as a viable way to resolve disputes, the end of capitalism as we know it, the widespread shift toward world citizenship, and the rise of forms of cooperation that will end the near-sacred status of nation-states. It’s the end of life as we have known it. However, the author is cautiously optimistic: he dwells not on the coming chaos, but on humanity’s great potential.
1. The End of the World as We Know It
2. How Archaeologists Think
3. Sticks and Stones: The Beginning of Technology
4. Beads and Stories: The Beginning of Culture
5. Bread and Beer: The Beginning of Agriculture
6. Kings and Chains: The Beginning of the State
7. Nothing Lasts Forever: The Fifth Beginning
Sex ratios: concepts and research methods provides both context to and instruction on many aspects of research on sex ratios. Unlike other books on the topic, it covers both how to carry out research on sex ratios and why such research is important in the context of evolutionary ecology. A wide spectrum of animal plant and microbial groups are covered, from malarial parasites to humans. Researchers and graduate students in behavioural and evolutionary ecology will find it an indispensable reference work for their research. Also available in hardcover.
This fascinating collection of essays exposes us as the animals that we are while explaining behaviours that are deeply and recognizably human. The first section, ‘Our Genes and Who We Are’, focuses on our genetic endowment and the forces it creates in our lives, such as our need to seek out beauty. Another essay explains the invisible genetic warfare that takes place between men and women as they conceive a baby, which continues as the foetus develops. The second part of the book, ‘Our Bodies and Who We Are’, ponders such diverse topics as why dreams are in fact dream-like; why we are sexually attracted to one another; why Alzheimer’s disease tends to be a post-menopausal phenomenon; and why grandmothers buying groceries for their grandchildren are part of nature’s Darwinian logic. In the third section, ‘Society and Who We Are,’ Sapolsky takes his interdisciplinary curiosity out into the wilds of civilization and poses such interesting questions as when and why our preferences in food become fixed. Or, why do desert cultures tend to be monotheistic and sexually repressed whereas rainforest dwellers tend towards sexually-relaxed polytheistic cultures? Why do people from the lower economic classes have more health problems? In each of these investigations, we see Sapolsky’s brilliant mind synthesizing a wealth of research in a thoughtful, engaging way that satisfyingly reveals the enormous complexity of simply being a human animal.
Zimmer, an award-winning science writer, takes readers on a fascinating journey into the latest discoveries about evolution. In the Canadian Arctic, palaeontologists unearth fossils documenting the move of our ancestors from sea to land. In the outback of Australia, a zoologist tracks some of the world’s deadliest snakes to decipher the 100-million-year evolution of venom molecules. In Africa, geneticists are gathering DNA to probe the origin of our species. In clear, non-technical language, Zimmer explains the central concepts essential for understanding new advances in evolution, including natural selection, genetic drift, and sexual selection. He demonstrates how vital evolution is to all branches of modern biology – from the fight against deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria to the analysis of the human genome. Richly illustrated with over 300 illustrations and photographs, this book is essential reading for anyone who wants understand the history of life on Earth.