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The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  9 reviews
A breakthrough theory that tools and technology are the real drivers of human evolution

Although humans are one of the great apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, we are remarkably different from them. Unlike our cousins who subsist on raw food, spend their days and nights outdoors, and wear a thick coat of hair, humans are entirely dependent on artificial
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 20th 2010 by St. Martin's Press
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Tom Quinn
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Evolutionary Psychology and Sociobiology and all their speculative marvels, so the title of this book caught my eye. And let me tell ya, I couldn't be happier with it. The Artificial Ape addresses some of those big burning philosophical, biological, and anthropological questions: Why are humans human? What exactly separates us from our nearest genetic relatives, and when exactly did it arise?
This book insists that there was an actual moment when we became human. It was a moment long befor
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
A bit inflated, a lot of anecdotes from the author. Fluff? maybe.
Kerem Cankocak
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

İnsanlar, şempanzeler, goriller ve orangutanlar gibi büyük kuyruksuz maymun türlerinden biri olmalarına rağmen, kuzenlerinden dikkat çekici şekilde farklıdır. Çiğ besinlerle beslenen, gündüzlerini ve gecelerini dışarılarda geçiren ve ince bir kıl tabakasıyla kaplı diğer kuyruksuz maymunların aksine insanlar, giyim, barınma ve alet kullanımı gibi yapay nesnelere bağımlıdır. Doğada, bunlar olmadan yaşamlarını sürdüremezler. En zayıf kuyruksuz maymun olmamıza rağmen, yine de gezegenin sahipleriyiz
May 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks
Taylor brings up issues few scholars of evolution consider, especially the problems that had to be overcome when hominin babies were born with big heads, making childbirth itself dangerous to mothers, as well as the twin problem of the utter helplessness of infants. This meant that mothers had to hold them constantly, hampering females greatly in their food gathering or when their bands were traveling.
Taylor considers that female concerns like baby care to have been a driving force in evolution
Toby Newton
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I like Taylor's thesis - which I had previously come to independently, without any supporting evidence, which is never a very strong position. So, it was nice to come across Tim's back-up argument and the reassurance it offered.

In a nutshell, we humans were shaped by technology, biologically, in our distant evolutionary past e.g. cooking exported the stomach to a pot over a fire and, by predigesting our food, allowed us to trade off shorter guts for bigger brains. Thus, while there is very littl
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those great examples of an expert in their field distilling their life's work down into bite-sized chunks for the rest of us. It would definitely help if you're a closet anthropologist, but whatever. For some reason I was convinced this book would be about technology of the last 500 years, which seems really stupid in retrospect, especially considering the millions of years of evolution we have behind us.

ANYHOW, it's well worth a read anyways, even if it's not about computers and
Bastard Travel
Jan 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
A fascinating book about how using tools makes us human, and how that's not necessarily a compliment.

The main thrust of Taylor's argument is that we started using tools that shouldered much of the burden that we would otherwise need actual shoulders for, so the shoulders we had went a little vestigial from generations of disuse. I know that analogy sounds kind of clunky, but it's literally what happened in the case of our 10% loss in bone density over the last few thousand years.

The perspective
M.H. Davidson
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great book ... fun read
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book addresses the author's theory that it was tools that caused our species to evolve, not that our ancestors first evolved a larger brain and then started to adopt the use of tools.
When I first started the book I had high hopes it would be very interesting to hear his arguments and evidence.
Unfortunately the author does not make his case.
He simply states that the earliest evidence of stone tools which had been fashioned to create a sharp cutting edge dates to 2.5 million years ago and our
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