Book cover of Between Ape and Human: An Anthropologist on the Trail of a Hidden Hominoid by Gregory Forth
Anthropology

Between Ape and Human: An Anthropologist on the Trail of a Hidden Hominoid

A remarkable investigation into the hominoids of Flores Island, their place on the evolutionary spectrum—and whether or not they still survive.

While doing fieldwork on the remote Indonesian island of Flores, anthropologist Gregory Forth came across people talking about half-apelike, half-humanlike creatures that once lived in a cave on the slopes of a nearby volcano. […Learn More]

Book cover of First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human by Jeremy DeSilva
Anthropology

First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human

Blending history, science, and culture, a stunning and highly engaging evolutionary story exploring how walking on two legs allowed humans to become the planet’s dominant species. 

Humans are the only mammals to walk on two, rather than four legs—a locomotion known as bipedalism. We strive to be upstanding citizens, honor those who stand tall and proud, and take a stand against injustices. We follow in each other’s footsteps and celebrate a child’s beginning to walk. But why, and how, exactly, did we take our first steps? And at what cost? Bipedalism has its drawbacks: giving birth is more difficult and dangerous; our running speed is much slower than other animals; and we suffer a variety of ailments, from hernias to sinus problems. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World by Nichola Raihani
Anthropology

The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

Cooperation is the means by which life arose in the first place. It’s how we progressed through scale and complexity, from free-floating strands of genetic material, to nation states. But given what we know about the mechanisms of evolution, cooperation is also something of a puzzle. How does cooperation begin, when on a Darwinian level, all that the genes in your body care about is being passed on to the next generation? Why do meerkat colonies care for one another’s children? Why do babbler birds in the Kalahari form colonies in which only a single pair breeds? And how come some coral wrasse fish actually punish each other for harming fish from another species? […Learn More]

Book cover of About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks by David Rooney
Anthropology

About Time: A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks

A captivating, surprising history of timekeeping and how it has shaped our world.

For thousands of years, people of all cultures have made and used clocks, from the city sundials of ancient Rome to the medieval water clocks of imperial China, hourglasses fomenting revolution in the Middle Ages, the Stock Exchange clock of Amsterdam in 1611, Enlightenment observatories in India, and the high-precision clocks circling the Earth on a fleet of GPS satellites that have been launched since 1978. Clocks have helped us navigate the world and build empires, and have even taken us to the brink of destruction. […Learn More]