Transcendence: How Humans Evolved Through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time
Humans now live longer and better than ever before, and we are the most populous big animal on earth. Meanwhile, our closest living relatives, the now-endangered chimpanzees, continue to live as they have for millions of years. We are not like the other animals, yet we evolved through the same process. What are we then? And now we have remade the world, what are we becoming? Setting out to answer this question Gaia Vince tells a remarkable evolution story about us. Unlike any other species on earth we determine the course of our own destiny, a fact that Vince argues rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture. Exploring cutting-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology, psychology and more that fundamentally change our understanding of how we developed as a species, this book compels us to reimagine our ancestors.
* A TIMES BEST SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR *
From the prize-winning author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth
‘A wondrous, visionary work’ Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers
Humans are a planet-altering force. Gaia Vince argues that our unique ability – compared with other species – to determine the course of our own destiny rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture going back into deep time. It is our collective culture, rather than our individual intelligence, that makes humans unique. Vince shows how four evolutionary drivers – Fire, Language, Beauty and Time – are further transforming our species into a transcendent superorganism: a hyper-cooperative mass of humanity that she calls Homo omnis. Drawing on leading-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology and neuroscience, Transcendence compels us to reimagine ourselves, showing us to be on the brink of something grander – and potentially more destructive.
‘Richly informed by the latest research, Gaia Vince’s colourful survey fizzes like a zip-wire as it tours our species’ story from the Big Bang to the coming age of hypercooperation’ Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox
‘Wonderful … enlightening’ Robin Ince, The Infinite Monkey Cage
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