Sunday, May 22, 2011
1) Shipman, Pat. The Animal Connection: A New Perspective on What Makes Us Human. 2011. W.W. Norton. Hardbound: 336 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
SUMMARY: A bold, illuminating new take on the love of animals that drove human evolution.
Why do humans all over the world take in and nurture other animals? This behavior might seem maladaptive-after all, every mouthful given to another species is one that you cannot eat-but in this heartening new study, acclaimed anthropologist Pat Shipman reveals that our propensity to domesticate and care for other animals is in fact among our species' greatest strengths. For the last 2.6 million years, Shipman explains, humans who coexisted with animals enjoyed definite adaptive and cultural advantages. To illustrate this point, Shipman gives us a tour of the milestones in human civilization-from agriculture to art and even language-and describes how we reached each stage through our unique relationship with other animals. The Animal Connection reaffirms our love of animals as something both innate and distinctly human, revealing that the process of domestication not only changed animals but had a resounding impact on us as well.
RECOMMENDATION: An interesting take on human/animal interactions throughout prehistory and recent history.