The Naked Ape: A Zoologist's Study of the Human Animal
By Desmond Morris
Why this book?
I believe an understanding of how human society evolved into its current state is a key ingredient in the search for ways to influence its future. Desmond Morris provides an insightful foundation for this by analyzing the human-animal from a Zoologist’s viewpoint. He traces our evolution from a small insect-eating forest dweller to a fruit and nut-eating ape to a predominantly carnivorous hunting ape.
This last major transition most interests me because it explains the significant biological and cultural changes needed to compete with established carnivores. This includes lengthened brain development, communication, male/female bonding, social organization, and territorial protection. While this transition introduced major differences between humans and other primates, the inertia of evolution over millions of years still impacts our behavior.
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