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According to Michel Serres, a process of 'hominescence' has taken place throughout human history. Hominescence can be described as a type of adolescence; humanity in a state of growing, a state of constant change, on the threshold of something unpredictable. We are destined never to be the same again but what does the future hold? In this innovative and passionately original work of philosophy, Serres describes the future of man as an adolescence, transitioning from childhood to adulthood, or luminescence, when a dark body becomes light. After considering the radical changes that humanity has experienced over the last fifty years, Serres analyzes the new relationship that man has with diverse concepts, like the dead, his own body, agriculture, and new communication networks. He alerts us to the consequences of these changes, particularly on the danger of growing inequalities between rich and poor countries. Should we rejoice in the future, ignore it, or even dread it? Unlike other philosophies that preach doom and gloom, Hominescence calls for us to anticipate the uncertain light of the future.
In the great halls of science, dogma holds that Darwin's theory of natural selection explains every branch on the tree of life- which species thrive, which wither away to extinction, and what features each evolves. But can adaptation by natural selection really account for everything we see in nature? Yale University ornithologist Richard Prum-reviving Darwin's own views-thinks not. Deep in tropical jungles around the world are birds with a dizzying array of appearances and mating displays- Club-winged Manakins who sing with their wings, Great Argus Pheasants who dazzle prospective mates with a four-foot-wide cone of feathers covered in golden 3D spheres, Red-capped Manakins who moonwalk. In thirty years of fieldwork, Prum has seen numerous display traits that seem disconnected from, if not outright contrary to, selection for individual survival. To explain this, he dusts off Darwin's long-neglected theory of sexual selection in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons-for the mere pleasure of it-is an independent engine of evolutionary change. Mate choice can drive ornamental traits from the constraints of adaptive evolution, allowing them to grow ever more elaborate. It also sets the stakes for sexual conflict, in which the sexual autonomy of the female evolves in response to male sexual control.
What teeth can teach us about the evolution of the human species Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite, noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth--their shape, chemistry, and wear--reveal how we came to be. Ungar describes how a tooth's "foodprints"--distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear--provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors, what Ungar calls the biospheric buffet.
Humans possess the most expressive faces in the animal kingdom. Adam Wilkins presents evidence ranging from the fossil record to recent findings of genetics, molecular biology, and developmental biology to reconstruct the fascinating story of how the human face evolved. Beginning with the first vertebrate faces half a billion years ago and continuing to dramatic changes among our recent human ancestors, Making Faces illuminates how the unusual characteristics of the human face came about?both the physical shape of facial features and the critical role facial expression plays in human society. Offering more than an account of morphological changes over time and space, which rely on findings from paleontology and anthropology, Wilkins also draws on comparative studies of living nonhuman species. He examines the genetic foundations of the remarkable diversity in human faces, and also shows how the evolution of the face was intimately connected to the evolution of the brain.
Who are America's creationists? What do they want? Do they truly believe Jesus rode around on dinosaurs, as sometimes depicted? Creationism USA reveals how common misconceptions about creationism have led Americans into a century of unnecessary culture-war histrionics about evolution education and creationism. Adam Laats argues that Americans do not have deep, fundamental disagreements about evolution - not about the actual science behind it and not in ways that truly matter to public policy. Laats asserts that Americans do, however, have significant disagreements about creationism. By describing the history of creationism and its many variations, Laats demonstrates that the real conflict about evolution is not between creationists and evolution. The true landscape of American creationism is far more complicated than headlines suggest.
Infants and children are the often-ignored heroes when it comes to understanding human evolution. Evolutionary pressures acted upon the young of our ancestors more powerfully than on adults, and changes over the course of development in our ancestors were primarily responsible for the species and the people we have become. This book takes an evolutionary developmental perspective, emphasizing that developmental plasticity--the ability to change our physical and psychological selves early in life--is the creative force in evolution, with natural selection serving as a filter, eliminating novel developmental outcomes that did not benefit survival. This book is about becoming--of becoming human and of becoming mature adults. Bjorklund asks, "How can an understanding of human development help us better understand human evolution?" Then, turning the relation between evolution and development on its head, Bjorklund demonstrates how an understanding of our species' evolution can help us better understand current development and how to better rear successful and emotionally healthy children.
In Evolutionary Neuropsychology, Frederick L. Coolidge examines the evolutionary origins of the human brain's present structures and functions, and traces these origins from the first life forms, through the development of consciousness, to modern human thinking. A new multidisciplinary science, evolutionary neuropsychology embraces and uses empirical findings from the fields of evolution, neuroscience, cognitive sciences, psychology, anthropology, and archaeology. The bedrock foundation of evolutionary neuropsychology is the assumption that functionally-specialized brain regions are adaptations naturally selected in response to various environmental challenges over the course of billions of years of evolution. These adaptations and their brain regions and circuitry may now serve new functions, which are called exaptations, and they are particularly involved in higher cognitive functions.
Since the first edition of this book published in 2005, there has been an immense amount of new and fascinating work on the history, ecology, and evolution of the Mediterranean flora. During this time, human impacts have continued to increase dramatically, significantly influencing both the ecology and evolution of the region's biota. This timely and comprehensive update of the original text integrates a diverse and scattered literature to produce a synthetic account of Mediterranean plant evolutionary ecology. It maintains the accessible style of its previous version whilst incorporating recent work in a new structural framework. This is not a traditional "plant science" book per se, but a novel integration of history, ecology, biogeography, and evolution, all set in the context of a dramatically increasing human footprint. There is a particular emphasis on the role of human activities as an ecological factor and their subsequent impact on plant evolution. Conversely, it demonstrates how an understanding of the evolutionary ecology of the region's flora can be used to provide insights into its future conservation and management.
In this unique amalgam of neuroscience, genetics, and evolutionary psychology, Ryan argues that leftists and rightists are biologically distinct versions of the human species that came into being at different moments in human evolution. The book argues that the varying requirements of survival at different points in history explain why leftists and rightists have anatomically different brains as well as radically distinct behavioral traits. Rightist traits such as callousness and fearfulness emerged early in evolution when violence was pervasive in human life and survival depended on the fearful anticipation of danger. Leftist traits such as pro-sociality and empathy emerged later as environmental adversity made it necessary for humans to live in larger social groups that required new adaptive behavior. The book also explores new evolutionary theories that emphasize the role of the environment in shaping not only human political behavior but also humans' genetic architecture.
Charles Darwin's "Historical Sketch" has appeared as a preface to nearly every authorized edition of Darwin's Origin of Species since the second English edition was published in 1860. The "Historical Sketch" provides a brief history of opinion about the species question as a prelude toDarwin's own independent contribution to the subject, but its provenance is somewhat obscure. While some previous thinkers anticipated portions of Darwin's theory long before he did, none of them saw the complete picture as clearly as Darwin. As such, he was able to claim originality and priorityfor the idea that has transformed our understanding of nature. His "Historical Sketch" was written as an attempt to address these issues. Some things are known about its production, such as when it first appeared and what changes were made to it between its first appearance in 1860 and its finalform in 1866.
Evolution is one of the most important processes in life. It not only explains the detailed history of life on earth, but its scope also extends into many aspects of our own contemporary behavior - who we are and how we got to be here, our psychology, our cultures - and greatly impacts modern advancements in medicine and conservation biology. Perhaps its most important claim for science is its ability to provide an overarching framework that integrates the many life sciences into a single unified whole. Yet, evolution - evolutionary biology in particular - has been, and continues to be,regarded with suspicion by many. Understanding how and why evolution works, and what it can tell us, is perhaps the single most important contribution to the public perception of science.This book provides an overview of the basic theory and showcases how widely its consequences reverberate across the life sciences, the social sciences and even the humanities. In this book, Robin Dunbar uses examples drawn from plant life, animals and humans to illustrate these processes.
The surprising history of the scientific method--from an evolutionary account of thinking to a simple set of steps--and the rise of psychology in the nineteenth century. The idea of a single scientific method, shared across specialties and teachable to ten-year-olds, is just over a hundred years old. For centuries prior, science had meant a kind of knowledge, made from facts gathered through direct observation or deduced from first principles. But during the nineteenth century, science came to mean something else: a way of thinking. The Scientific Method tells the story of how this approach took hold in laboratories, the field, and eventually classrooms, where science was once taught as a natural process. Henry M. Cowles reveals the intertwined histories of evolution and experiment, from Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection to John Dewey's vision for science education. Darwin portrayed nature as akin to a man of science, experimenting through evolution, while his followers turned his theory onto the mind itself. Psychologists reimagined the scientific method as a problem-solving adaptation, a basic feature of cognition that had helped humans prosper.