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The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease 1st Edition

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Imported from USA

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In thoroughly enjoyable and edifying prose, Lieberman, professor of human evolution at
Harvard, leads a fascinating journey through human evolution. He comprehensively explains how evolutionary forces have
shaped the human species as we know it, from the move to bipedalism, and the changes in body parts—from hands to feet
and spine—that such a change entailed, to the creation of agrarian societies, and much more. He balances a historical
perspective with a contemporary one—examining traits of our ancestors as carefully as he looks to the future—while
asking how we might control the destiny of our species. He argues persuasively that cultural evolution is now the
dominant force of evolutionary change acting on the human body, and focuses on what he calls mismatch diseases that are
caused by lack of congruence between genes and environment. Since the pace of cultural evolution has outstripped that of
biological evolution, mismatch diseases have increased to the point where most of us are likely to die of such causes.
Lieberman's discussion of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and breast cancer are as clear as any yet published, and he
offers a well-articulated case for why an evolutionary perspective can greatly enrich the practice of medicine. Agent:
Max Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Oct.)

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From Booklist ( /gp/feature.html/?docId=1000027801 )

Like it or not, we are slightly fat, furless, bipedal primates who crave sugar, salt, fat, and starch.
Harvard professor Lieberman holds nothing back in his plea that people listen to the story of human evolution consisting
of five biological transformations (walking upright, eating a variety of different foods, accumulating physical traits
aligned to hunting and gathering, gaining bigger brains with larger bodies, and developing unique capacities for
cooperation and language) and two cultural ones (farming and reliance on machines). Unfortunately, human beings now
create environments and presently practice lifestyles that are clearly out of sync with the bodies they’ve inherited.
This mismatch results in myriad problems, including Type 2 diabetes, myopia, flat feet, and cavities. Lieberman cleverly
and comprehensively points out the perils of possessing Paleolithic anatomy and physiology in a modern world and bemoans
just how out of touch we have become with our bodies. Natural selection nudges all life-forms toward optimality rather
than a state of perfection. If we want to continue our phenomenal run as a species, it is essential to understand (and
embrace) our evolutionary legacy. --Tony Miksanek

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