Humans: an Unauthorised Biography

9783319310190

My parents have just published a book with Springer: “Humans: an Unauthorised Biography”. It’s an excellent, insightful, friendly volume on our species, covering anthropological, scientific and economic aspects of what it means to be human – definitely worth a read! I read some early drafts and provided some thoughts and feedback, which earned me a thank you in the Acknowledgements for my “merciless criticism”…

Based on the latest scientific discoveries, this “unauthorized biography” of the Humans recounts the story of our distant ancestors during the past 6 million years, since the line of our extended family separated from that leading to modern chimpanzees. The book explains how different species evolved, both anatomically and cognitively, and describes the impacts of climatic and environmental change on this process. It also explores the nature of relationships within and between species, describes their everyday lives, and discusses how isolated individuals became members of larger social groups. The concluding chapters highlight the paramount importance of the emergence of symbolic thought and discuss its contribution to the formation of institutions, societies, and economies. The multifaceted picture that emerges will help the reader to make sense not only of “what we were”, but also of “what we are”, here and now. The book is both entertaining and rigorous in integrating results from a wide selection of disciplines. It will be particularly suitable for people with a curious and open mind, keen to overcome long-standing prejudices on man’s place in nature.

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