Last Ape Standing

Last Ape Standing

The Seven-million Year Story of How and Why We Survived

eBook - 2013
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Over the past 150 years scientists have discovered evidence that at least twenty-seven species of humans evolved on planet Earth. These weren't simply variations on apes, but upright-walking humans who lived side by side, competing, cooperating, sometimes even mating with our direct ancestors. Why did the line of ancient humans who eventually evolved into us survive when the others were shown the evolutionary door? Chip Walter draws on new scientific discoveries to tell the fascinating tale of how our survival was linked to our ancestors being born more prematurely than others, having uniquely long and rich childhoods, evolving a new kind of mind that made us resourceful and emotionally complex; how our highly social nature increased our odds of survival; and why we became self aware in ways that no other animal seems to be. Last Ape Standing also profiles the mysterious "others" who evolved with us-the Neanderthals of Europe, the "Hobbits" of Indonesia, the Denisovans of Siberia and the just-discovered Red Deer Cave people of China who died off a mere eleven thousand years ago. Last Ape Standing is evocative science writing at its best-a witty, engaging and accessible story that explores the evolutionary events that molded us into the remarkably unique creatures we are; an investigation of why we do, feel, and think the things we do as a species, and as people-good and bad, ingenious and cunning, heroic and conflicted.
Publisher: New York : Walker & Company, c2013.
ISBN: 9780802778918
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Dec 30, 2017

Probably a good book to start reading about the topic of human evolution, and it is definitely an easy read. As I moved through it, I got more and more of the feeling that the author was cherry-picking true scholars in the field and doing selective simplification of their work. I found myself wondering about other scholarly opinions on topics that the author acknowledged as in contention and not agreed upon. The last part of the book seemed to be mostly wild conjecture by the author along the lines of his "what if this was true" perspective and lacked significant credible research references.
In summary, I would say the author is a writer in the field and pretty far from a knowledgeable scholar. Lots of entertainment if you like his story. This book has motivated me to look for authors who better understand the detailed research in the field and the subtleties of differing theories and opinions.
Currently reading Nicholas Wade's, "Before The Dawn". Much more meat, a much more credible writing style, and still very readable and interesting to the casual reader interested in history in general (i.e. me).

Jul 31, 2014

We found this book gave some real insights into how we became who we are. While some is speculation based on what is actually known, the author does not 'dumb it down', but does try to avoid getting into deep scientific terminology when possible. It gives anyone with an open mind some really good understanding of why we behave as we do and where we might go from here. He points out that, if you scale 7+ million years of evolution to a year, we modern humans only show up in the last few days and our recorded history represents only the last few minutes of that year. It is well written, an interesting and easy read, and gives one lots of food for thought.


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