Reviews elsewhere on the web:
Anthony Campbell
Kate Tucker

Christopher Wills

The Runaway Brain

How humans came to have such large brains is a bit of an evolutionary puzzle. They are very useful now, but many of our talents would seem of little use in the environment of 100000 years ago. In The Runaway Brain Christopher Wills puts forward the argument that once our intelligence exceeded a certain threshold, continued growth was pretty much inevitable, inependent of the external environment. At least that's what I think he is claiming - my one problem with the book is that although Wills gives us an excellent tour of many areas of evolution and genetics, he never seems to collect up the claims he is making into a form in which they can be judged by the reader.

The book is in four parts. The first looks at 'Mitochondrial Eve', and discusses when she might have lived. The second examines human evolution in terms of the fossils which have been found. The third part deals with genetics an looks at how certain kinds of behaviour are genetically determined. The final part moves on to brain evolution, and it is here that I hoped that Wills would bring all of the threads together to reach a conclusion, but I don't feel that he did. The book is not difficult to read, but goes into a lot of detail, and some readers might find it slow going. It's best suited to the reader who enjoys a book with plenty of challenging ideas, rather than one who wants to get to the end as quickly as possible.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 400 pages  
ISBN: 0465071457
Salesrank: 8571731
Weight:1.05 lbs
Published: 1994 Basic Books
Marketplace:New from $14.22:Used from $1.86
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 320 pages  
ISBN: 0006546722
Salesrank: 5684308
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 1995 Flamingo
Marketplace:New from £86.26:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback
ISBN: 0006546722
Salesrank:
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: FLAMINGO
Marketplace::Used from CDN$ 2.78
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Product Description
A look at the human brain employs new research by paleontologists, geneticists, and neurobiologists to debunk revisionist theories of human prehistory, studying two competing theories of human evolution: the ""multiple origins"" and ""Noah's Ark"" models. National ad/promo.