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Self-Made Man Human Evolution from Eden to Extinction?

by Jonathan Kingdon

  • ISBN: 9780471305385
  • ISBN10: 0471305383

Self-Made Man Human Evolution from Eden to Extinction?

by Jonathan Kingdon

  • List Price: $45.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Publish date: 09/01/1993
  • ISBN: 9780471305385
  • ISBN10: 0471305383
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Description: How did man evolve? Through simple adaptation to physical environments? Pure Darwinian selection? Neither, says internationally recognized evolution expert Jonathan Kingdon. When it comes to evolution, neither biology nor geography is destiny. It was technology - furs and fires, boats and fishtraps - that liberated man's ancestors from their primate pasts. In Self-Made Man, Kingdon offers a radical new interpretation of the role that man's lust for new tools and technologies played in driving human evolution. Modern humans are truly "self-made" argues Kingdon, because even the most strictly biological of adaptations was profoundly influenced by technological innovations, distinguishing our evolutionary path from that of all other animals. A perverse result of this technological genius has been an irreversible dependence of our species on technological innovation, which may, Kingdon argues passionately, ultimately destroy our environment and threaten our very existence. This brilliant tour through the history of evolution draws on the most up-to-date findings in genetics, paleoanthropology, archaeology, and ecology. Beginning with an exploration of new developments in the "Out of Africa" theory, Kingdon describes the evolution and dispersal of all humans out of one region of the Dark Continent. The story of their travels and travails is a magnificent adventure, brought to life by Kingdon with lavish illustrations and richly detailed descriptions. He recounts how the residents of the African "Eden" developed skills, tools, and technologies, and were able to venture out into less habitable territory. Thus, it was technology that drove their migration to the farthest reaches of the earth -and so it is technology that lies at the heart of human form and diversity. As it explores the processes that brought humanity to its present condition, Self-Made Man demolishes some widely held notions about early societies and the origins of races. From its re-examination of the role of women and children in the development of advanced societies to its assertion that skin, hair, and eye color may not be determined by physical surroundings and a subsequent redefinition of "race", Self-Made Man is full of provocative reinterpretations and revelations that are sure to surprise and challenge all readers. The book closes with a searching meditation on the reaches of modern technology and its potential for advancing - and destroying - man and the earth. With this potent combination of past and prophecy, Self-Made Man becomes not simply a history, but a new and daring exploration of the future of humanity in light of its self-made past.
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