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Tamed: Ten Species That Changed Our World

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  192 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival. They were hunter-gatherers, consummate foraging experts, but taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution occurred – our ancestors’ interaction with other species changed. They began to tame them. The human population boomed; civilization began.

In her new book, Tamed
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 19th 2017 by Hutchinson
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Apr 14, 2018 rated it liked it
interesting science book looking at ten things which have been tamed including humans and a bit science and history but did learn a lot however.

The way I see it, Tamed has two great strengths to recommend it: the first is its up-to-date research. If you want to know all the latest debates and study findings in the ancient process of domestication of plants and animals, this book will get you up to speed. Understandably this won’t hold true in ten years, however. The second strength is Alice Roberts’ writing. The author is a well-known figure – at least here in the UK – and indeed her job is to make the historical sciences lucid to the g
Sam Worby
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good general introduction to domestication and (for me) an update on some of the ground covered in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel. Clearly this is a fast moving area so the science is likely to go out of date fairly quickly.

I enjoyed the range of types of domestication Roberts covered. Some chapters, especially those on dogs, apples and horses were particularly fascinating. Others were weaker, for example the chapter on cattle didn’t really cover how people might have gone about domesti
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book that documents the stories of how 10 species have been tamed by either themselves, other sub-species or humans. Laid out in classic, intellectual and scientific prose Alice Roberts educates with ease, filling the reader with information in a succinct fashion, yet with enough description from the latest areas of research. I throughly enjoyed the final chapter, the summary of the entire book that touched upon some of the major issues that we as a species have introduced ...more
Katy Noyes
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ten chapters of social history and science - interesting tidbits in there

3.5 stars

This came out last year, but I hadn't heard of it until I saw the Audible version advertised. It sounded like the sort of easy listen that I would enjoy and hopefully learn from, having enjoyed Roberts' television programmes.

It turned out to be a mixed bag. Absolutely fascinating on one hand, but rather long-winded on the other as a listen. The dates and delving do feel quite cumbersome when you are listening, it'
Emmanuel Gustin
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is "Professor of Public Engagement in Science" at the University of Birmingham. At first hearing that sounds like an elaborately made-up title, but if you think of for a little longer, it is a vital role. The future of mankind may very well depend on the level of public engagement with science. And this is an engaging book.

If I may quibble a bit: Alice Roberts is a well known television figure, featuring in science and history programs for the BBC, and as she is a talented television
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
Archaeology, biology, genetics, and climate clues brought together to tell the story of domestication.

Caution: To love this book you have to get into the back-and-forth debate about the dates of domestication, and single vs multiple origins. It turns out I'm not that interested in that. The first two chapters (dogs, wheat) in particular put me right off this book.

But the storytelling grew on me. Yes, there's lots of informed speculation, and the specifics of any story are going to be just recko
Crispina Kemp
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
As expected of Dr Alice Roberts, her book, Tamed, presents complex biological, anthropological, archaeological and genetic matters in terms everyone can understand.

For the book, Dr Alice Robert chooses ten species: Wheat, Rice, and Maize, Apples and Potatoes, Dogs and Chickens, Cattle and Horses, and Humans.

She follows the development of these ten species from their wild days through to C21st; looks at the various controversial and conflicting theories prevalent throughout the last two centuri
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Tamed looks at how and when animals and plants became domesticated. From dogs and horses to apples and wheat and even humans themselves, Alice Roberts looks into how this species changed from being in the wild to living alongside humans.

There was potential for the book to simplify the information but it doesn't do that at all. Roberts shares very recent research looking into both the archaeological and the scientific (usually DNA) evidence that helps to explain where the species came from. Thou
Mick Kelly
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Professor Alice Roberts is a well-known and well-respected academic and broadcaster in the popular science field and this book is a tribute to her skill and knowledge. It’s an easy read that imparts a large amount of information while remaining as near to a page-turner as a popular science book can be.

She traces the history of ten species (dogs, wheat, cattle, maize, potatoes, chickens, rice, horses, apples and humans) over the millennia in which they interacted with human beings (in the widest
Cath Ennis
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
(4.5 rounded up)

It is so satisfying to find an interesting, well-researched popular science book that is also a pleasure to read.

Tamed tells the story of how humans domesticated nine important plant and animal species, and how doing so helped to shape human history, modern society, and even our own evolution. The book brings together the latest research from various fields including genetics, palaeontology, archaeology, linguistics, climatology, and ecology, mixed with a couple of charming just-
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, kindle, non-fiction
At first I thought this would be a 'World History through a Narrow Slit', e.g. bit like Kurlansky's Salt, and while it does provide some of that with fascinating insights in the Columbian Exchange, there's also so much more. The main thrust of the book is that modern science has changed a lot of the accepted historical record over the last few decades. Roberts looks at how modern DNA methods of dating and analysis have upended many settled theories, and also looks at other ways of using the mode ...more
Jae Kay
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent look at the evolution (as Roberts rightly points out, there's not such thing as artificial selection and humanity's domestication of plants and animals is just as much evolution in action as any other selective pressure) of domestic plants and animals (and humans).

The author's use of the terms "allies" to describe species such as dogs gets to the heart of the issue. Without teaming up with us wolves would be in, as they are today, the mere 100 000s population wise. But by teaming up w
Richard Howard
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
I find this a difficult book to review. On the one hand I learned a lot and found the origin stories of the ten chosen species fascinating. On the other hand I found myself longing for some visual input to help illustrate Alice Robert's various theories and conclusions. Some pictures would have been welcome, some maps even more. As with a lot of her writings you can see a TV series on the horizon. I hope one does happen as she is a superb presenter.
Her final chapter strikes a thoughtful but caut
Earl Tower
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
To anyone with a serious interest in anthropology, archaeology, and the origins of human culture and civilization, this is a must read. Dr. Roberts takes the time to lay out very detailed arguments and research on how various animals and plants became domesticated by Humanity.

In the end, these partnerships changed how we lived, the ecology of the planet, and even the very biology of homo sapiens.
Thomas Womack
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful way to think about the world

This is a beautiful book, encapsulating the second generation of genetic studies of domestic plants and animals which has always added an ‘it’s more complicated than that’ to the neat conclusions of the first genetic work. Full of wonderful facts - did you know the Braeburn Apple was created in 1952? Absolutely fascinating popular science, not shying away from detail.
Jaimie-lee Northey
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have seen many of Roberts' tv shows but this is the first of her books I have read. I was not disappointed. It was thorough, detailed and informative while remaining readable and engaging. I liked this approach, of picking 10 species to show the importance of domestication to human lives and the impact, rather than looking at domestication alone.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Well-researched and presented, but I wish the book spent less time on the phylogenetics and ancestry of the species in question, and more on how they actually changed the world or what made them so suited to do so. Or for that matter, how we changed them.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, science
Most recommended

Thoroughly enjoyable and very pertinent read on the evolution and development of humans and a number of other species that have always been closely related to us! Excellently researched and leaves you with plenty to think over.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, informative and thought provoking
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So interesting! I didn't follow all the science but there was enough I did understand to be compelling.
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really thought provoking book. Clear and easy to follow without needing to have any knowledge beforehand. Enjoyed reading this.
Tina Ambury
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant. Informative and entertaining.
The only chapter/species I'm a little disappointed with was Homo sapiens.
Roger Neilson
A hard read because there's lots of facts in there and often a lot of repetition. To me it keeps losing focus as the writer heads off down some meandering side track.
Deepak K
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book. Deep and Insightful.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As you’d expect from Alice Roberts, a fascinating account of the origins of our domesticated species, as well as a look at how we’ve domesticated ourselves.
rated it really liked it
May 22, 2018
Joel Kelly
rated it it was amazing
Jul 23, 2018
Su Edwards
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Jan 18, 2018
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Jun 21, 2018
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Alice May Roberts is an English anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, physical anthropologist, palaeopathologist, television presenter and author.

Roberts studied medicine and anatomy at Cardiff University, qualifying in 1997 as a physician with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB BCh) degree, having gained

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“even been suggested that the eventual domestication of cereals in this area could have grown from a culture which invested heavily, not in bread-making, but in beer-brewing – and that alcohol could have flowed freely, greasing the wheels of social intercourse, at these ancient feasts.” 0 likes
“Most chickens, though, grow fast – and are slaughtered at just six weeks old. When we eat chickens, they’re really just overblown, overgrown, big chicks. The ends of their bones haven’t even begun to turn from cartilage to bone yet. A single great-grandmother hen, back in the pedigree flock, can have an astonishing 3 million broiler-chicken descendants – who never make it to adulthood.” 0 likes
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