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Weaving together stories of science and sociology, The Selfish Ape offers a refreshing response to common fantasies about the ascent of humanity. Rather than imagining modern humans as a species with godlike powers, or Homo deus, Nicholas P. Money recasts us as Homo narcissus—paragons of self-absorption. This exhilarating story offers an immense sweep of modern biology, leading readers from earth’s unexceptional location in the cosmos to the story of our microbial origins and the innerworkings of the human body. It explores human genetics, reproduction, brain function, and aging, creating an enlightened view of man as a brilliantly inventive, yet self-destructive animal. The Selfish Ape is a book about human biology, the intertwined characteristics of our greatness and failure, and the way that we have plundered the biosphere. Written in a highly accessible style, it is a perfect read for those interested in science, human history, sociology, and the environment.
The Ape that Understood the Universe is the story of the strangest animal in the world: the human animal. It opens with a question: How would an alien scientist view our species? What would it make of our sex differences, our sexual behavior, our child-rearing patterns, our moral codes, our religions, our languages, and science? The book tackles these issues by drawing on ideas from two major schools of thought: evolutionary psychology and cultural evolutionary theory. The guiding assumption is that humans are animals, and that like all animals, we evolved to pass on our genes. At some point, however, we also evolved the capacity for culture - and from that moment, culture began evolving in its own right. This transformed us from a mere ape into an ape capable of reshaping the planet, travelling to other worlds, and understanding the vast universe of which we're but a tiny, fleeting fragment.
Gregory F. Tague's An Ape Ethic and the Question of Personhood argues that great apes are moral individuals because they engage in a land ethic as ecosystem engineers to generate ecologically sustainable biomes for themselves and other species. Tague shows that we need to recognize apes as eco-engineers in order to save them and their habitats, and that in so doing, we will ultimately save earth's biosphere. The book draws on extensive empirical research from the ecology and behavior of great apes and synthesizes past and current understanding of the similarities in cognition, social behavior, and culture found in apes. Importantly, this book proposes that differences between humans and apes provide the foundation for the call to recognize forest personhood in the great apes. While all ape species are alike in terms of cognition, intelligence, and behaviors, there is a vital contrast: unlike humans, great apes are efficient ecological engineers. Therefore, simian forest sovereignty is critical to conservation efforts in controlling global warming, and apes should be granted dominion over their tropical forests. Weaving together philosophy, biology, socioecology, and elements from eco-psychology, this book provides a glimmer of hope for future acknowledgment of the inherent ethic that ape species embody in their eco-centered existence on this planet.
What do we think about when we think about human evolution? With his characteristic wit and wisdom, anthropologist Jonathan Marks explores our scientific narrative of human origins—the study of evolution—and examines its cultural elements and theoretical foundations. In the process, he situates human evolution within a general anthropological framework and presents it as a special case of kinship and mythology. Tales of the Ex-Apes argues that human evolution has incorporated the emergence of social relations and cultural histories that are unprecedented in the apes and thus cannot be reduced to purely biological properties and processes. Marks shows that human evolution has involved the transformation from biological to biocultural evolution. Over tens of thousands of years, new social roles—notably spouse, father, in-laws, and grandparents—have co-evolved with new technologies and symbolic meanings to produce the human species, in the absence of significant biological evolution. We are biocultural creatures, Marks argues, fully comprehensible by recourse to neither our real ape ancestry nor our imaginary cultureless biology.
Why do we give a damn about strangers? Altruism is unique to the human species. It is also one of the great evolutionary puzzles, and we may be on the brink of solving it. It turns out that, over the last 12,000 years, we have become more and more altruistic. This is despite the fact that, the majority of the time, our minds are still breathtakingly indifferent to the welfare of others. In solving the enigma of generosity in a world of strangers, McCullough takes us on a sweeping history of society and science to warn that, if we are not careful, our instincts and sympathies have as much potential for harm as for good. The bad news is that we are not designed to be kind. The good news is that we can push ourselves to be kind anyway, together.
This book is a vision of biology set within the entire timescale of the universe. It is about the timing of life, from microsecond movements to evolutionary changes over millions of years. Human consciousness is riveted to seconds, but a split-second time delay in perception means that we are unaware of anything until it has already happened. We live in the very recent past. Over longer timescales, this book examines the lifespans of the oldest organisms, prospects for human life extension, the evolution of whales and turtles, and the explosive beginning of life four billion years ago. With its poetry, social commentary, and humor, this book will appeal to everyone interested in the natural world.
Explores the story of our evolution, and of the people who have devoted their lives to discovering the truth about our origins.
When the tame and wild apes being used for a scientific experiment learn its ultimate goal, several escape and try to live as a family.

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