Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and



10 thoughts on “Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived

  1. Maron Anrow Maron Anrow says:

    I have mixed feelings about this book.I teach Evolutionary Psychology, so when I read popular books on evolution, I m either looking 1 to learn new stuff about my favorite topic, or 2 for something accessible and easy for my students to read I picked up this book for the first reason The implications of Homo sapiens coexistence with other hominins e.g., Neanderthals, Denisovans has grabbed hold of me recently, and this book appeared to be entirely about that topic While it does address I have mixed feelings about this book.I teach Evolutionary Psychology, so when I read popular books on evolution, I m either looking 1 to learn new stuff about my favorite topic, or 2 for something accessible and easy for my students to read I picked up this book for the first reason The implications of Homo sapiens coexistence with other hominins e.g., Neanderthals, Denisovans has grabbed hold of me recently, and this book appeared to be entirely about that topic While it does address it a fair amount, it s ultimately just another here s how and why humans evolved book However, I d say it does adopt some fresh approaches, one of which is why Homo sapiens weresuccessful than other hominins although that ultimately just became an account of our species unique adaptations, and why they work so well What I found most enlightening about this book was the theory that retaining youthful characteristics both in appearance and behavior was crucial to human evolution Somehow I ve never encountered that before, and it s quite compelling So, I did indeed learn something new from this book That s nice.At the same time, because this is a topic I m very familiar with, it s hard not to be critical and I found a lot to criticize I had few criticisms early on, but by the end I found myself constantly irritated First, while I understood everything just fine, there are spots where the author unwisely assumes reader familiarity with concepts that should be broken down and explained For this reason, I d hesitate before recommending this book to someone who is new to human evolution and or evolutionary psychology.But there are worse flaws, and while I feel bad being critical, I can t help it because this is a topic I care deeply about First, the author used the phraseevolved when describing a particular hominin species, and there are few things that make me want to kick someonethan the phraseevolved oh my god we are not a great chain of being wtf and this is a book about evolution.Second, I had to immediately wonder about the author s credentials when he wrote in a footnote that the number of Native Americans living in the continental U.S before the arrival of white mencouldn t have exceeded manythan tens of thousands What Does he mean IN TOTAL Even so Apparently he hasn t read 1491 New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus That made me immediately skeptical of some of theprovocative theories he cited, like how Neanderthals hummed Speaking of citations, what s with the lack of a well organized bibiography The book has a bibliography, but a carefully researched work of non fiction should provide page by page references whereas this one just dumps them all together at the end, other than a handful of footnoted citations Why did those statements receive citations while the vast majority didn t.Third, there was both subtle and not so subtle male bias in the writing This ranged from many uses of the word man instead of human or individual to the omission of female issues in human evolution so much emphasis on hunting Early man was clever and strong hunter Rawr Ugh This particular sentence irked me, because it assumes a male perspective This makes fewer goals in lifeimportant from an evolutionary point of view than successfully landing at least one sexual partner Increasing number of sexual partners has a direct effect on men s fitness, but the same is not true of women because of their slower reproductive rate This doesn t mean there s never a fitness advantage to women havingthan one partner a good example is cuckoldry i.e., having a sexual affair with a partner whose genes aredesirable for one s offspring than one s pair bonded partner, and getting that pair bonded partner to invest in offspring that aren t his own , but in general, increasing number of sexual partners is not a strategy for women to increase their fitness If he had simply wrote than landing a sexual partner, that would be okay But the insertion of the phrase at least one is a good example of the male centric assumptions I noticed in this book Actually, I take that back The phrase isn t the problem The entire sentence implies that any partner is better than no partner, which is true for men s fitness For women, indiscriminate sex has the potential to harm her long term fitness even if it results in immediate reproduction.Fourth, I question some of the estimates for the emergence of certain characteristics, like self awareness The author suggests that modern self awareness emerged 50,000 years ago, after Homo sapiens made their way to Europe So he s either denying this particular psychological capacity to humans who hadn t left Africa by that time, or he s saying the trait evolved independently in separate groups of humans all over the world Other work I ve read suggests that self awareness likely existed by the time of Homo erectus, because they carried their tools with them and thinking about the future requires a sense of self Granted, the author of this book fixates on speaking to oneself in one s head as modern self awareness so maybe this is just an argument of semantics, but I think inner thought is simply using language with self awareness and not a separate adaptation in its own right Therefore, I think 50,000 years is way too late for an estimate of the emergence of self awareness I also wonder if his estimates of the evolution of language are a bit late Okay, I think I m starting to sound a bit cranky, and of course I could be very wrong about all this But even if I m wrong about the evolution of self awareness, the implications of his timeline i.e., either self awareness evolved independently or some people don t have it are messed up.Finally, I got a little tired of some repetitive points, such as We humans wouldn t be here at all if not for X or Y nearly prevented us from existing at all The emphasis on human uniqueness also felt like a massive self congratulatory pat on the back for what a special species we are Of course, that is the topic of the book why we re the only hominin species alive today , but sometimes it felt a little too over the top And, truthfully, we need to stop patting ourselves on the back so fucking much Apparently writing this has made me angry All those criticisms aside, this wasn t a bad book I read it in two days, and I did learn something new


  2. David David says:

    There is evidence that over twenty different human or near human species have lived in the past seven million years They did not all live sequentially many lived at the same time, and probably interacted from time to time Some species may have killed off others, while perhaps they inter bred on occasion How do two different species interbreed That is not clear to me In the end, only homo sapiens survived This is the story of how and why our species survived It wasn t a fore ordained re There is evidence that over twenty different human or near human species have lived in the past seven million years They did not all live sequentially many lived at the same time, and probably interacted from time to time Some species may have killed off others, while perhaps they inter bred on occasion How do two different species interbreed That is not clear to me In the end, only homo sapiens survived This is the story of how and why our species survived It wasn t a fore ordained result Luck or randomness plays a large part in evolution The book emphasizes how the homo sapiens brain evolved as it did, and the major impact it had on all aspects of our anatomy and psychology.Chip Walter is an excellent writer He has a wonderful talent for explaining complex subjects in a straight forward manner, and making them sound simple Walter s style is never condescending he is thoroughly engaging, without peppering his writing with grating humor unlike some other science writers He has an ability to state the obvious, and then show why the non obvious consequences are so important Even though Walter does not understand the definition of a quadrillion, I would highly recommend this book to anybody just beginning to be interested in evolution


  3. Jeanette Jeanette says:

    Yes, it hasflaws than some would say a 4 star non fiction science field read would warrant Although as I read I did waver And at one point was considering a 2 because of some aspects in the writing style But in the end, I decided that it is well worth the read and informative to a 4 star level And especially for those with no real compass to the direction these inquiries have so far accomplished Yes, he does make rather out of place simile and analogy wording that attempts to be fun Yes, it hasflaws than some would say a 4 star non fiction science field read would warrant Although as I read I did waver And at one point was considering a 2 because of some aspects in the writing style But in the end, I decided that it is well worth the read and informative to a 4 star level And especially for those with no real compass to the direction these inquiries have so far accomplished Yes, he does make rather out of place simile and analogy wording that attempts to be funny Sometimes it is Most times it is not In effect, by trying to lighten the mood for this record which describes history and minutia for at least 26 different homo forms of past extinctions, the form of the telling may irk theknowledgeable, IMHO So if I am honest I recommend this for theintroductory to homo forms crowd If you know little about the human remains record of forensics or anthropology study for origins of location or the millennia andof Earth s eras in which all life has changed and expanded or not then this is the book for you Because it absolutely does translate some of those distances in time with the creatures who lived within them quite well for thecommon non scientific reader It informs with excellent charting and graphics They are 5 star as are the mock ups of the species as they may have looked in health And it also places the difficult categorizations names and classifications in a frame for reference If you ve never tried to read in this field, that alone is a good beginning Having done some work with Cognitive tracking and other forensic related brain structure and operation to recall early 1990 s and it s ancient history now except for some of the memory work tests and having athan average interest concerning points for the HUGE differences in theory examples from when I first studied this in the 1960 s it still kept my interest to the vast changes for successions and time periods of overlap and altered locations While at the same time it introduced to me a couple of brand new interesting facts Especially concerning side branches of homo that formerly were considered our direct line ancestor descendant forms But the last few chapters Subjective symbols and the future homo sapiens summation were mere skims of the water Way too much supposition and wide angle guesswork Nothingthan a pretty and far too simplistic story.What made me want to cut another whole star was some of the attitudinal commenting Homo sapiens was never the pinnacle of importance nor at a place in the Earth history in which he puts our form, IMHO But that doesn t translate to his progressions or forms materials being stilted or slanted And I m also not so sure on the almost extinction of homo sapiens during the succession of ice ages about 50 70 millennia ago That s a wide statement But what raises this another whole star is the excellence of the argument and proofs displayed in chapters here for our specific species sapiens lengthening of childhood and child features and why that occurred It s quite important when you compare the many other homo species which took the various other evolved routes for faster replacement and reproduction in order to confront terrible conditions or heavy mortality instead by faster numbers of replacement When maturity begins at 5 or 8, there is muchtime to reproduce larger numbers of offspring, but there is also much less time for brain growth and testing of environments some describe as play Which forces the altered structures for that play function another way altogether by a side accident of longer use occurring It was an immense push for brain growth and newer specific brain regions sapiens now holds Neoteny And I do disagree with some other reviewers who have posted that Chip Walter gives a muchdeadly and dire picture for our various homo forms and for our own ancestors DNA from other species that reside still in us than existed in their own period s reality The tooth and claw of life length and competitive condition in a dozen different measures was, IMHO, evendifficult than Walter poses Not less Individual life was short 30 was old, and 35 began ancient Most adults had some permanent physical damage or deformity injury way before age related changes set in Teeth studies, as the ones about the maturing age in years for various former species in this book are quite interesting to read also They are 4 star plus, as is the flea related proofs for our mixed species DNA as it exists in homo sapiens today


  4. Elizabeth Theiss Elizabeth Theiss says:

    Why did home sapiens survive and other closely related species such as Neanderthals and Denisovans become extinct Chip Walters takes up the question and provides alternative theories of what could have happened based on contemporary archeological evidence The writing style is lively and non scholarly in a good way, at times bordering on the irreverent Walters descriptions of Neanderthals and how they lived are fascinating It appears that Homo sapiens not only lived in the same vicinity at t Why did home sapiens survive and other closely related species such as Neanderthals and Denisovans become extinct Chip Walters takes up the question and provides alternative theories of what could have happened based on contemporary archeological evidence The writing style is lively and non scholarly in a good way, at times bordering on the irreverent Walters descriptions of Neanderthals and how they lived are fascinating It appears that Homo sapiens not only lived in the same vicinity at the same time as Neanderthals but also clearly mated with them, as evidenced by the percentage of people whose cells contain Neanderthal DNA.Found this book fascinating, especially the chapter on consciousness and its impact on the human capacity for invention.As a coda to this review, I recently learned that I am of Neanderthal descent I share 3.2% of my DNA with the Neanderthal species This calls for a rereading of the book with a focus on traits I share with my ancestors


  5. Eric Eric says:

    This book is one of the best that I have read that has focused solely on human evolution This author takes a specific focus on why we have survived while other humans have not and does not wander into arguments for evolution or much description about how it takes place As a result, I would not recommend this book for someone who is unfamiliar with evolution, but, rather for the reader that has some familiarity with the process For instance, this would make an excellent introductory volume in This book is one of the best that I have read that has focused solely on human evolution This author takes a specific focus on why we have survived while other humans have not and does not wander into arguments for evolution or much description about how it takes place As a result, I would not recommend this book for someone who is unfamiliar with evolution, but, rather for the reader that has some familiarity with the process For instance, this would make an excellent introductory volume in a class that focuses on human evolution.One of the greatest points for me, as someone with an anthropology degree, is his description of the difficulties that the field of paleoanthropology has when it comes to analysis and te amount of fossilized material that there is to be found It helps to show the reader why there is so much debate within the field and invites the reader into the discussion


  6. Maitrey Maitrey says:

    Last Ape Standing LAS was a bit of a letdown for me I was expecting it to fill gaps in what I knew of the human evolutionary tree, but it turned out to be pop sci and it s subtitle was very misleading I think I should ve read upon Chip Walter before picking this book up.LAS moves very quickly from our last common ancestor with the chimps to very recent hominins like Homo rudolfensis and Homo ergaster Therefore the seven million year journey is almost halfway done in the first few page Last Ape Standing LAS was a bit of a letdown for me I was expecting it to fill gaps in what I knew of the human evolutionary tree, but it turned out to be pop sci and it s subtitle was very misleading I think I should ve read upon Chip Walter before picking this book up.LAS moves very quickly from our last common ancestor with the chimps to very recent hominins like Homo rudolfensis and Homo ergaster Therefore the seven million year journey is almost halfway done in the first few pages itself Turns out you can t blame Chip too much, we really don t know much about those human species and the fossil records and whatever little of their tools and workmanship is heavily disputed, even fought over, by palaeoanthropologists.I m happy I ve a decent idea of where problem species such as Homo habilis and H erectus fit in the human evolutionary tree thanks to reading this book TL DR they don t, both habilis and erectus have been relegated to side branches, and it s widely believed we re directly descended from from H ergaster and H heidelbergensis Some great insights into human evolution are marred by forays into pop psychology and not any new pop psychology at that and other related areas that any well informed five year old will surely know Otherwise the writing was clear and not at all jargon heavy.Overall, this book is a concise, well written, not to mention a very up to date introduction to human evolution.P.S I d love recommendations for new books on human evolution written by scientists


  7. Wendy Wendy says:

    Note I received an advanced readers copy of this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program.I first encountered Paleolithic humans and Neanderthals in 7th grade, in the pages of Jean Auel s 1980 novel


  8. Tanja Berg Tanja Berg says:

    Rating 4 out of 5 This despite the fact that I was chocked to find a typo in the author s note right at the beginning of book It didn t exactly promise great things to come I was mistaken The rest of the book was lucid and readable I didn t find anytypos I learned a few things that I ve missed before I wasn t aware that we shared the world with several other species of human in the early days Nor that there were many parallel species of two legged creatures on the prehistoric sa Rating 4 out of 5 This despite the fact that I was chocked to find a typo in the author s note right at the beginning of book It didn t exactly promise great things to come I was mistaken The rest of the book was lucid and readable I didn t find anytypos I learned a few things that I ve missed before I wasn t aware that we shared the world with several other species of human in the early days Nor that there were many parallel species of two legged creatures on the prehistoric savanna at the same time However, these days we are the only ones left It s not long ago only about 30000 years that the last Neanderthal died Makes me wonder what new heights of racism might have existed if they were still with us Of course, one theory claims that we mated with them, so perhaps we didn t hate them All humans except Africans have 1 4% Neanderthal genes Of course, I ve met examples who clearly must have hadI also learned that Neanderthals actually had bigger brains than us I must have heard about this before, but I never reflected on it previously.I m not exactly sure why we made it over other species One is that we were being born earlier, with extended childhoods and that unlike other species of apes our brains continues to grow long after birth In many ways we resemble baby apes and retain juvenile looks, something called neoteny We are, in many ways, learning machines Although it becomesdifficult in adulthood, we are still capable of learning new things throughout our lives Which would be a good adaptive trait.Although it took me forever to read at least it felt that way, being me I still enjoyed it I often become impatient with books that require too much time that is, a week orAlthough the fact that this one did is mostly because I didn t have such long stretches of time to read There are so many other things crowding for my attention these days, plus long days at the office A horrible excuse, I know Anyway, if you enjoy reading about evolution and early human history, then this is highly recommended It s interesting and fun rather than bonedry


  9. Philip Philip says:

    The bulk of this book was a solid 5 stars, but there were several sections that were so complex and almost textbook y that by the end I was just toughing it out This isn t a particularly long book, but it is incredibly dense, and so despite Walker s friendly, science light writing style it just took me forever to get through although that s probablya reflection on myself and my own mental limitations than a criticism of Walker.When he was discussing the development, expansion, interac The bulk of this book was a solid 5 stars, but there were several sections that were so complex and almost textbook y that by the end I was just toughing it out This isn t a particularly long book, but it is incredibly dense, and so despite Walker s friendly, science light writing style it just took me forever to get through although that s probablya reflection on myself and my own mental limitations than a criticism of Walker.When he was discussing the development, expansion, interaction and ultimate fate of the various human species a full 27 so far man, I couldn t get enough But then he d go off into the development of the human brain and personality, and I d end up skimming and ultimately skipping large sections just to get back to the cavemen story This accounted for three of the book s eight chapters Learning Machine, Tangled Web, and The Voice Inside Your Head and for me that was just way too much on dentrites and neurons epigenomes, when what I really wanted was to get back to cave paintings and aurochs and homotheriums and Indonesia s hobbits and migration patterns and who invented the throwing spear, answer the Cro Magnons Neanderthals merely stabbed losers.Walker s epilogue on where and if humanity goes next is unsettling, mixing humanist pessimism there s no way our biological evolution can keep up with our technological revolution with scifi optimism unless we basically become cyborgs , and constitutes a thought provoking stand alone essay So if like me, you end up skimming the last 25 or so pages, make sure to pay close attention again at the very end.Overall, a fascinating, fact filled book on a topic of personal interest that just maybe could have been 1 1 2 chapters shorter As Walker points out, this is an on going story with new discoveries being made on a regular basis But with this information now going me a semi solid foundation, I think I ll get any future updates from National Geographic


  10. Sarah Sarah says:

    First off I should say that I found this book quite interesting Even though I was somewhat less interested in the evolution considerations and muchinterested in the paleoanthropology, still, it was a pretty fascinating read and definitely gave me a slightly different lens through which to peer at my modern existance I did, however, have a bit of a hard time following the family tree and how each human species connected to others and whether their territory overlapped, how they migrated First off I should say that I found this book quite interesting Even though I was somewhat less interested in the evolution considerations and muchinterested in the paleoanthropology, still, it was a pretty fascinating read and definitely gave me a slightly different lens through which to peer at my modern existance I did, however, have a bit of a hard time following the family tree and how each human species connected to others and whether their territory overlapped, how they migrated, etc There were a few graphics to help with this, but I would have appreciated .Finally, the thing that bothered me most about this book and that I found constantly distracting was how he erased women from his discussions of prehistoric humans Rather than refer to humans in the plural form, or use something slightlyawkward like he or she or even alternating between she and he , he always refers to all the humans as he Further, when he describes accomplishments made by modern day humans, he also only ever refers to achievements made by men I m almost positive that even prehistoric humans were 50% female, and that one can scrape up at least one gratuitous example of female historical accomplishment, so why not be a littleinclusive History has been pretty good at wiping out the presence of women thus far I d like to think we were beyond that at this pointor could at least make a halfassed effort to pretend we are


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Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived ☉ Last Ape Standing: The Seven-Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived PDF / Epub ❤ Author Chip Walter – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Over the past 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 li Standing: The PDF/EPUB À Over the pastyears 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 Last Ape PDF \ was linked to our ancestors being born 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 Ape Standing: The MOBI î Red Deer Cave people of China who died off a mere eleven thousand years agoLast 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.