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The Story of the Human Body

The Past, Present, and Future of the Human Body

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Audio Download published by Random House Digital (Random House Digital)

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A landmark book of popular science--a lucid, engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years and of how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and the modern world is fueling the paradox of greater longevity but more chronic disease.  In a book that illuminates, as never before, the evolutionary story of the human body, Daniel Lieberman deftly examines the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the advent of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the rise of hunting and gathering and our superlative endurance athletic abilities; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of modern cultural abilities. He elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how it further transformed our bodies during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. Lieberman illuminates how these ongoing changes have brought many benefits, but also have created novel conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, resulting in a growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, including type-2 diabetes. He proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of "dysevolution," a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally--provocatively--he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes oblige us to create a more salubrious environment.(With charts and line drawings throughout.)From the Hardcover edition.
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A landmark book of popular science--a lucid, engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years and of how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and the modern world is fueling the paradox of greater longevity but more chronic disease.  In a book that illuminates, as never before, the evolutionary story of the human body, Daniel Lieberman deftly examines the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the advent of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the rise of hunting and gathering and our superlative endurance athletic abilities; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of modern cultural abilities. He elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how it further transformed our bodies during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. Lieberman illuminates how these ongoing changes have brought many benefits, but also have created novel conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, resulting in a growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, including type-2 diabetes. He proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of "dysevolution," a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally--provocatively--he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes oblige us to create a more salubrious environment.(With charts and line drawings throughout.)From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Audio Download
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Random House Digital
Imprint: Random House Digital
ISBN: 9780307990075
Other books byDaniel Lieberman
  • The Story of the Human Body

    The Story of the Human Body
    Evolution, Health, and Disease
    In this landmark book of popular science, Daniel E. Lieberman—chair of the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a leader in the field—gives us a lucid and engaging account of how the human body evolved over millions of years, even as it shows how the increasing disparity between the jumble of adaptations in our Stone Age bodies and advancements in the modern world is occasioning this paradox: greater longevity but increased chronic disease.   The Story of the Human Body brilliantly illuminates as never before the major transformations that contributed key adaptations to the body: the rise of bipedalism; the shift to a non-fruit-based diet; the advent of hunting and gathering, leading to our superlative endurance athleticism; the development of a very large brain; and the incipience of cultural proficiencies. Lieberman also elucidates how cultural evolution differs from biological evolution, and how our bodies were further transformed during the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.   While these ongoing changes have brought about many benefits, they have also created conditions to which our bodies are not entirely adapted, Lieberman argues, resulting in the growing incidence of obesity and new but avoidable diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. Lieberman proposes that many of these chronic illnesses persist and in some cases are intensifying because of “dysevolution,” a pernicious dynamic whereby only the symptoms rather than the causes of these maladies are treated. And finally—provocatively—he advocates the use of evolutionary information to help nudge, push, and sometimes even compel us to create a more salubrious environment. (With charts and line drawings throughout.)

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