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Anthony Campbell

Jared Diamond

The third chimpanzee

The small genetic distance between humans and chimpanzees means that they should all be classified together in the genus Homo. It is with this thought that Jared Diamond starts this book. He then goes on to look at many aspects of humanity, how they evolved, and how they fit in with the rest of the animal kingdom. Human sexuality, language, agriculture, war (and genocide) and art are examined from this point of view as well as drug use and environmental crises. The result is a highly readable book with interesting answers to some of the questions which humans pose for themselves.

Diamond uses his experience of life in Papua New Guinea to good effect. His friendships with people who remember a stone-age like existence before their meeting with the rest of the world add several interesting anecdotes.

The subject of evolution of human behaviour is a controversial one, and indeed sometimes Diamond seems to be being controversial just for the sake of it. On the question of environmental damage, he sometimes seems to be supporting a 'back to nature' approach, but in the end his conclusion is that it is our innate behaviour that is causing the problem and that a change from old ways is required for the future.

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Paperback 432 pages  
ISBN: 0060845503
Salesrank: 34387
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2006 Harper Perennial
Amazon price $10.98
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 407 pages  
ISBN: 0060845503
Salesrank: 206051
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2007 Harper Perennial
Marketplace::Used from £1.79
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 407 pages  
ISBN: 0060845503
Salesrank: 33909
Weight:0.57 lbs
Published: 2006 HarperPerennial
Amazon price CDN$ 19.79
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 16.70:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

The Development of an Extraordinary Species

We human beings share 98 percent of our genes with chimpanzees. Yet humans are the dominant species on the planet -- having founded civilizations and religions, developed intricate and diverse forms of communication, learned science, built cities, and created breathtaking works of art -- while chimps remain animals concerned primarily with the basic necessities of survival. What is it about that two percent difference in DNA that has created such a divergence between evolutionary cousins? In this fascinating, provocative, passionate, funny, endlessly entertaining work, renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning author and scientist Jared Diamond explores how the extraordinary human animal, in a remarkably short time, developed the capacity to rule the world . . . and the means to irrevocably destroy it.