We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but is there really anything special about us that sets us apart from other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox - that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special - lies at the heart of who we are.
In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.
THE BOOK OF HUMANS tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals, and reveals how we are extraordinary among them. It is his story-writing that makes the book a page-turner, and we challenge anyone not to learn something astonishing along the way. -- Rachel Pells * THE I PAPER * [A] fascinating, well-researched, and at times both funny and disturbing book -- Bianca Nogrady * CANBERRA TIMES (Australia) * An entertaining exploration of human evolution, showing that, amidst the teeming multitudes of lifeforms surrounding us, we are really not that special. And yet we are ... Wonderfully crafted, this is a readable, fun exploration of human evolution and how we compare to the animals surrounding us -- Leon Vlieger * THE INQUISITIVE BIOLOGIST * A sensational tour of life on Earth and an illustration of the things we consider unique to us humans but are, quite simply, not -- Lucy Fisher * BIG ISSUE IN THE NORTH * An ideal read for a family history enthusiast who's keen to learn more ... The story entertainingly weaves through the long view of history, taking in our key developments that together we see as making us human (tools, fire, language, for instance), and comparing us to our fellow creatures, with some surprising results ... I'd recommend this book to anyone wishing to feed their curiosity about the human story and how we've evolved -- Helen Tovey * FAMILY TREE MAGAZINE *
The Book of Humans