A TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2019
'A wondrous, visionary work' Tim Flannery, scientist and author of the bestselling The Weather Makers
From the prize-winning author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth
Humans are the most successful species on Earth; a planet-altering force of nature. Meanwhile, our closest living relatives, the now-endangered chimpanzees, continue to live as they have for millions of years. Yet we evolved through the same process. What are we then? And now we have remade the world, what are we becoming?
Setting out to answer this question, Gaia Vince retells our evolution story. Unlike any other species on earth we determine the course of our own destiny, something that she argues rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture going back into deep time. It is our collective culture, rather than our individual intelligence, that makes humans unique. Vince shows how our four evolutionary drivers - Fire, Language, Beauty and Time - are further transforming our species into a superorganism: a hyper-cooperative mass of humanity that she calls Homo omnis, or 'Homni'. Drawing on cutting-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology and neuroscience, Transcendence
compels us to reimagine ourselves, showing us to be on the brink of something grander - and potentially more destructive.
To think of humans as a smarter sort of chimp with cool tools is to miss what is truly extraordinary about us. Look around you: we are the intelligent designers of all you see - including ourselves. Gaia Vince's enthralling second book, ideal for anyone who loved Sapiens, shows how a unique combination of genes, environment and culture (from our love of objects to our knowledge of mortality) has enabled us to determine our own destiny, uniquely among species on earth. * The Bookseller * This book goes from the Big Bang to the Hundred Thousand Genome Project to make a convincing case that Homo sapiens has become a super-organism. I learned a lot from it and so will you. -- Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics UCL, author of 'Almost Like a Whale' An imaginative and inspiring adventure into the origins and evolution of what we hold most dear: our human culture. -- Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development UCL Vince draws on extensive travels and many interviews with scientists to offer vivid accounts of these forces at work in the lives of our "cultura