- Paperback: 407 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial (3 Feb. 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060845503
- ISBN-13: 978-0060845506
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.) Paperback – 3 Feb 2007
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The Development of an Extraordinary SpeciesWe human beings share 98 percent of our genes with....
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Top Customer Reviews
The range of topics is extensive, and he handles them with a special talent, exercised with aplomb. We like to think we are exclusive among animals in having speech, writing, agriculture and other aspects of "civilization". Diamond shows us that those aspects we think are particular to us are in fact shared by numerous other species. Ours may be more pronounced, but they are not isolated in us. These abilities differ only in degree, usually limited by environment or physical capabilities. But they are the shared result of the evolutionary process.
Diamond has a special talent for the sweeping view. He's used this aptitude elsewhere, but perhaps none of his books quite match what he's done here. Challenging many of our dearly held beliefs with a refreshing directness, he aptly demonstrates that if we can learn how evolution works, we'll gain a better understanding of ourselves.Read more ›
This is another of the twenty books Charlie Munger recommends in the second edition of Poor Charlie's Almanack (which I recommend very strongly you get and read). Two of Jared Diamond's books make it on to the list (this one plus Guns, Germs and Steel), so I had high hopes for his first book, The Third Chimpanzee. I wasn't disappointed.
A big theme in Poor Charlie's Almanack is the importance of multi-disciplinary learning. Munger believes that many/most academic disciplines suffer from `man with a hammer syndrome': if your only tool is a hammer, everything tends to look like a nail. Jared Diamond is a man who comes equipped with a full tool kit: he started off in medical research, then pursued a parallel second career in bird ecology, evolution and biogeography and is learning his twelfth language.
The first part of this book is about where we came from and how we have become so different to all of the other animals, when, for example, only 1.6% of our DNA differs from that of a chimpanzee. The second part is about our likely future as evidenced by our relatively recent past (though these broad headings are actually subdivided into five sections by the author).
The book is full of interesting facts and surprising (and well argued) theories. The evidence that he discusses when looking at whether we ever lived in harmony with nature and how far back and regularly our human genocidal tendencies manifested themselves is rather disquieting. It suggests strongly, for example, that my own laissez faire attitude towards the environment is emphatically not justified by human history.Read more ›
Diamond's aim is to view human history through the lens of biology: given that we are about 98% genetically identical to chimps, what light does that shed on our own life-cycle, culture, history and destiny?
The book's first section briefly documents our genetic history - our divergence from a proto-chimp ancestor, and the development of homo sapiens over about six million years (homo erectus, homo habilis etc). Diamond is always keen to draw out the political implications of his science, and suggests that if we were to label chimps as "homo troglodytes" rather than "pan troglodytes", we might make different ethical decisions about their treatment. I found this first section all too-brief - I'd have liked to see a lot more detail on the biological commonalities and differences between humans and chimps.
The second section reviews the human life-cycle, particulary our sexuality - why are we monogamous? How do we choose mates? What can sexual selection suggest about human races? This draws heavily on comparisons and contrasts with other animal species and I found it all interesting.
The third section covers the evolution of things that might seem "uniquely human" - language, art, agriculture, drug use - and traces animal precursors to see whether we really are as unique as we think. I found all of this to be far too brief - a whole book on this area would have been interesting.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love all this authors work and especially loved this book. Jared Diamond creates a strong and consistent narrative that pulls a number of intriguing arguments together. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I bought that for my daughter who is going to study anthropology in next 4years. She said, it's a very interesting book and if you are into anthropology you must read it.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Jared Diamond tells us with full knowledge and modesty who we are, what kind of living species is humanity, and where we are heading.Published 10 months ago by Raymond
Excellent survey of human development, surpassed by Harari's "Sapiens", but still engaging and vivid - confident exposition of the environmental problem we face.Published 13 months ago by yorkie
I haven't read anything by Jared Diamond that I didn't enjoy. Sometimes I think he is a little too dogmatic in applying evolutionary explanations to every aspect of human... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Keith Wileman
hits the nail right on the head. i would gladly pick fleas off jareds body, a true silver back.lovenpeace.this book makes me feel sane, which is never a bad thingPublished on 8 Aug. 2013 by bengoo
He writes well, I first read Guns Germs and Steel, then Collapse before feeling that I ought to see where he started in books. Read morePublished on 21 April 2013 by PK
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