How Humans Evolved teaches the processes that shape human evolution with a unique blend of evolutionary theory, population genetics, and behavioral ecology. The new edition continues to offer the most up-to-date research—in particular, significantly revised coverage of how recent discoveries are shaping our history of human evolution—while now giving you the best tools to engage your students in and out of the classroom.
how humans evolved
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How language evolved has been called "the hardest problem in science." In Adam's Tongue, Derek Bickerton—long a leading authority in this field—shows how and why previous attempts to solve that problem have fallen short. Taking cues from topics as diverse as the foraging strategies of ants, the distribution of large prehistoric herbivores, and the construction of ecological niches, Bickerton produces a dazzling new alternative to the conventional wisdom. Language is unique to humans, but it isn't the only thing that sets us apart from other species—our cognitive powers are qualitatively different. So could there be two separate discontinuities between humans and the rest of nature? No, says Bickerton; he shows how the mere possession of symbolic units—words—automatically opened a new and different cognitive universe, one that yielded novel innovations ranging from barbed arrowheads to the Apollo spacecraft. Written in Bickerton's lucid and irreverent style, this book is the first that thoroughly integrates the story of how language evolved with the story of how humans evolved. Sure to be controversial, it will make indispensable reading both for experts in the field and for every reader who has ever wondered how a species as remarkable as ours could have come into existence.
Most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and that violence and wealth inequality are bad. But most people who lived during the 10,000 years before the nineteenth century thought just the opposite. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, biology, and history, Ian Morris explains why. Fundamental long-term changes in values, Morris argues, are driven by the most basic force of all: energy. Humans have found three main ways to get the energy they need—from foraging, farming, and fossil fuels. Each energy source sets strict limits on what kinds of societies can succeed, and each kind of society rewards specific values. But if our fossil-fuel world favors democratic, open societies, the ongoing revolution in energy capture means that our most cherished values are very likely to turn out not to be useful any more. Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels offers a compelling new argument about the evolution of human values, one that has far-reaching implications for how we understand the past—and for what might happen next. Originating as the Tanner Lectures delivered at Princeton University, the book includes challenging responses by classicist Richard Seaford, historian of China Jonathan Spence, philosopher Christine Korsgaard, and novelist Margaret Atwood.
Looks at how humans have evolved complex behaviours such as language and culture.
A radical, optimistic exploration of how humans evolved to develop reason, consciousness, and free will. Lately, the most passionate advocates of the theory of evolution seem to present it as bad news. Scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and Sam Harris tell us that our most intimate actions, thoughts, and values are mere byproducts of thousands of generations of mindless adaptation. We are just one species among multitudes, and therefore no more significant than any other living creature. Now comes Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller to make the case that this view betrays a gross misunderstanding of evolution. Natural selection surely explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, but Miller argues that it’s not a social or cultural theory of everything. In The Human Instinct, he rejects the idea that our biological heritage means that human thought, action, and imagination are pre-determined, describing instead the trajectory that ultimately gave us reason, consciousness and free will. A proper understanding of evolution, he says, reveals humankind in its glorious uniqueness—one foot planted firmly among all of the creatures we’ve evolved alongside, and the other in the special place of self-awareness and understanding that we alone occupy in the universe. Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct is a moving and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.
In this book, John Birtchnell offers a new theory as the basis for a science of relating. While links can be made between it and classical interpersonal theory, it has many new and original features.; The theory states that the relating of humans must have evolved out of, and be in continuity with, the relating of all other animals. The fundamental relating objective of both humans and animals can most easily be defined Identifying That Basic Framework Of Motives Which Is Common To Both.; Birtchnell proposes that such a framework is best constructed around two major axes, a horizontal one concerning the degree to which we need to become involved with or separated from others, and a vertical one concerning the degree to which we choose to exercise power over others or permit others to exercise their power over us. We differ from other animals in the horizontal axis in the extent to which we have expanded our proclivity for close involvement, and on the vertical axis in the extent to which we have become prepared to utilize such forms of power as we have, or have acquired, for the benefit of others. As a consequence of our greater involvement, we are capable of being concerned about and respectful of the needs of others, and trusting of those who are prepared to utilize their power for our benefit, though we remain capable of being disrespectful and non-trusting.; The four objectives derived from the proposed framework are called closeness, distance, upperness and lowerness, and a large part of the book is devoted to describing their characteristics. The book also explores the use of the framework as a means of classifying personality disorders and mental illness.; This book shoud be of interest to professionals and students interested in human relationsships, including psychiatrists, clinical and social psychologists, and psychotherapists.