The Monkey in the Mirror: Essays on the Science of What Makes Us Human

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9780151005208: The Monkey in the Mirror: Essays on the Science of What Makes Us Human
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Nothing fascinates us more than explorations of human origins,
and nobody tells the story better than Ian Tattersall.

What makes us so different? How did we get this way? How do we know? And what exactly are we? These questions are what make human evolution a subject of general fascination. Ian Tattersall, one of those rare scientists who is also a graceful writer, addresses them in this delightful book.

Writing in an informal essay style, Tattersall leads the reader around the world and into the far reaches of the past, showing what the science of human evolution is up against-from the sparsity of evidence to the pressures of religious fundamentalism. Looking with dispassion and humor at our origins, Tattersall offers a wholly new definition of what it is to be human.

Delightful stories, scientific wisdom, fresh insight-the perfect science book.

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About the Author:

Ian Tattersall is curator of Human Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History and the author of eleven books and many articles. Becoming Human won the distinguished W. W. Howells Prize of the American Anthropological Association. Tattersall lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Tattersall, the curator of human evolution at the American Museum of Natural History and a prolific author (Becoming Human, etc.), laments in his preface that the book's contents "take you where they will" and do not necessarily lead from one to the next but he is just being modest. In truth, these introductory essays on human origins complement each other nicely. The first chapter, a primer on scientific basics, emphasizes the collective nature of scientific endeavor and answers debunkers of evolution, who would dismiss it as "only a theory." An essay on modern evolutionary theory zeroes in on the idea that evolutionary change comes in sporadic spikes (rather than gradually), which lays ground for his essays on speciation in human evolution. With his essays on the first hominid bipeds and toolmakers, Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons (the first "moderns"), Tattersall arrives at his specialty, and it shows, making for the most satisfying reading of this collection. ("Written in Our Genes?" is a tiresome and predictable attack on evolutionary psychology, however.) These essays are not intended to push the bounds of the current paradigm, but rather to entertain and to fascinate, which they do often. (Nov.)Forecast: Fans of Becoming Human and other Tattersall texts will recognize his name and pick this one up; neophyte browsers may decide that the Museum of Natural History affiliation sets the author of this book apart from a crowded pack.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description Harcourt Brace & Co., Orlando, Florida, U.S.A., 2001. Hard Cover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. First printing. New. Essays about the fundamental questions of our time full of delightful stories, scientific wisdom, and fresh insight about our evolutionary future. Size: 6 x 8 1/2. Seller Inventory # 11852-006

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Book Description Harcourt, Orlando, Florida, U. S. A., 2001. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. Widely regarded as one of the rare eminent scientists who is also a graceful writer, Ian Tattersall takes up some of the most controversial questions in evolutionary theory in this extraordinary set of essays. Tattersall stresses that living creatures, including humans, are not finely enginered organisms with every component perfectedly adapted to their function. We are - thank goodness - jury-rigged, improvised beings, owing as much to chance as to adaptation. And that's true of all living creatures. Evolutionary theory isn't a finite set of conlcusions based on overwhelming evidence: It's our evolving effort to make sense out of a handful of incomplete fossil remains. The fundamental questions of our origins - and our evolutionary future - find new life in this extraordinary book, full of delightful stories, scientific wisdom, and fresh insight. 203 pages. 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Seller Inventory # 002861

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