Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live Hardcover – 10 May 2013
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In thoroughly engaging and witty prose, Zuk (Sex on Six Legs), a biologist from the University of Minnesota, dismantles the pseudoscience behind nostalgic yearnings for our caveman days. --Publisher's Weekly
[an] elegant book [...]Zuk writes with a pleasant, dry humour which intermittently sparkles. --Literary Review
About the Author
Marlene Zuk is a professor of biology at the University of California - Riverside and is the author of Sex on Six Legs.
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Top Customer Reviews
The same variations may have been true of the paleolithic hunter gatherers. For instance, it is thought that the introduction of the bow and arrow radically changed the type of animals that could be hunted at some stage within the paleolithic period. The actual life styles of the ancient hunter gatheres are a matter for speculation, rather than something on which modern life can be based.
Furthermore, it is difficult to accurately replicate the conditions of the hunter gatherers in the 21st century. The paleo diet tends to lay a great emphasis on meat. But modern farm animals have a much a higher fat content than the animals hunted in the paleolithic period, which would nowadays be classed as 'game' or wild meat. Similarly, vegetable and fruit that existed in the paleolithic held much less nutrition than modern cultivated produce.Read more ›
The idea behind the paleofantasy, particularly popular, it seems, among the New York chatterati, is that we ought to try to live more like our Palaeolithic forebears, because this was the lifestyle and diet we evolved for, where now we live in a very ‘unnatural’ environment. Zuk tears this idea to shreds, showing how evolution doesn’t evolve ‘for’ anything, how we weren’t particularly well matched to our Palaeolithic environment anyway, how we’ve evolved since and how the ideas of what, for instance, people of that period ate are wrong both because, for instance, they did seem to eat grains, and also because they weren’t a single population in a single environment, but actually had many, widely differing lifestyles.
This much is brilliant, but the reason I can only give the book three stars is that it really does feel like this part of the content is more a long article than a book, so it then had to be stretched. This produces a couple of problems. One is that Zuk keeps going back to what the people on ‘Caveman’ forums and the likes say, to compare with the science, and after the initial fun, we don’t care. It’s a bit like writing a book on climate change and using the non-science that Nigel Lawson puts forward all the way through as a straw man, rather than briefly mentioning and dismissing it at the start.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Justo a critic to the paleo paradigm but no real world solutions or alternatives.Published 11 months ago by Leon Morra
The book reads nicely and throws some light on the history of our evolution. Like it although have not had the time to read it fully yet.Published 23 months ago by Kromm
Busts some notions. Particularly liked the explanations of how environment shapes genes. Right now I must check on my porridge.Published on 19 Jun. 2013 by anuska