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A Natural History of Ourselves

Hannah Holmes.
Publisher Atlantic Books  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 7.75 x 5 x 1.2 inches
ISBN 9781848870406
Pages/Publication Date 400/2008
Daedalus Item Code 32574
This item is not available.
In this book—the UK edition of The Well-Dressed Ape—the author of Suburban Safari gives us a field guide to that most common yet elusive species, Homo sapiens. This unusual mammal mates remarkably often, eats to the point of undermining its own health, and marks territory with doors, fences and garden gnomes. It thinks of itself as complex, intelligent, and superior in every way to other animals—but is it, really? Hannah Holmes surveys the evidence, drawing on intriguing parallels from the animal kingdom. She shows that cheating on your partner makes you smarter, evolution makes you lie to your mother, and that we may not be as unique as we seem to think.

"Humans are strange creatures, biologically speaking. We're fixated on the topic of mating, though we're the only species that often makes the evolutionarily illogical choice to mate without reproducing. We're also the only creatures on Earth obsessed with analyzing themselves—which is precisely the drive behind Hannah Holmes's [2008] book, The Well-Dressed Ape, in which she explores herself (and her human mate) as if discovering a new species.... The result is sometimes illuminating and often funny. While examining herself for the Physical Description chapter, Holmes explains how extra food that isn't burned off as energy gets converted to oil stored in fat tissue. 'Evidently I've done this a few times,' she writes, 'because cookies are too damned easy to capture.'... One essential point Holmes returns to several times is this: Many traits often touted as being uniquely human—such as self-recognition, intelligence and complex communication skills—actually exist in other animals."—Washington Post Book World

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