Title: Children Of Prometheus: The Accelerating ...
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: 1998
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Fine
Edition: 1st Edition.
0738200034 First edition, first printing. Fine in a fine dustjacket. Bookseller Inventory # 04030
Synopsis: Are we still evolving? Scientists have grappled with this question since the time of Darwin. Now, in this provocative book, biologist Christopher Wills argues that we are not only continuing to evolve but that our pace of change is accelerating. He examines the rapid, short-term evolutionary change taking place in people living at the earth?s extremes (even as babies, Tibetans can draw in more oxygen than lowlanders), and the new physiology of those who participate in extreme sports. But the more we shape our environment, the more it seems to shape us: Whether the future has us wiring our brains into vast electronic databases, or popping ôsmart drugs? that alter the brain?s very biochemical structure, new environmental pressures are speeding up our evolution in ways that we cannot now predict but that will help us to survive the future.
Review: Ever since Darwin published The Descent of Man, we have wondered about the future of our species. Will we separate into H.G. Wells's Morlocks and Eloi, or will we stay pretty much the same? Biologist Christopher Wills tackles this big question in Children of Prometheus , claiming that yes, indeed we are changing in significant ways, despite assertions by many scientists to the contrary.
Evolution can be seen as an improvisational dance performed by DNA and the environment--each equal partners until just a geological moment ago, when one species--ours--began to have a profound impact on the environment, changing everything. Wills describes how we have indirectly slowed, sped up, or stopped (through extinction) the evolution of many species, and suggests that our environmental manipulations are accelerating the rate at which we ourselves are changing with each generation. His lucid explanations of evolutionary mechanisms and heritability studies greatly help non-technical readers grasp his points, but even professional scientists will benefit from his review of the psychogenetic literature. In the end, Children of Prometheus can't tell us what our distant descendents will look like; we can only look in a mirror and wonder how they will differ. --Rob Lightner
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