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The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist

by Frans de Waal
New York: Basic Books, 2002. 464 pages.

One of the world's experts on chimpanzee behavior considers the nature of culture and its relationship to who humans are. "We define ourselves as the only cultured species, and we generally believe that culture has permitted us to break away from nature. We are wont to say that culture is what makes us human", de Waal explains: "The possibility that animals have culture is the topic I wish to explore in this book." The reviewer for Scientific American recommends that we "look over his shoulder and learn what the animals tell us about ourselves."

Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection

by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy
New York: Ballantine Books, 1999. 752 pages.

A review of motherhood and infancy from an evolutionary point of view, written by a leading researcher who has spent her career investigating these topics. With extensive notes and bibliography. From the preface: "For better or for worse, I see the world through a different lens than most people. My depth of field is millions of years longer, and the subjects in my viewfinder have the curious habit of spontaneously taking on the attributes of other species: chimps, platypuses, australopithecines.

America before the European Invasions

by Alice Beck Kehoe
London: Longman Publishing Group, 2002. 272 pages.

Drawing on the methods of anthropology, archaeology, and history, Alice Beck Kehoe's magisterial account of the fifteen thousand years of pre-Columbian American history is a must for anyone interested in the development of human cultures in North America north of Mexico. Reviewing America before the European Invasions in The New York Review of Books, Tim Flannery wrote, "Its strength lies in the author's deep empathy with the people who lived their lives in vanished and barely imaginable civilizations, as well as with contemporary indigenous cultures. ...

Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions and Other Popular Theories About Man's Past

by William H. Stiebing Jr.
Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1984. 217 pages.

From the publisher: "This book critically evaluates many of these popular hypotheses about man's early history. It presents the most important evidence and arguments for and against theories of a universal flood, the lost continent of Atlantis, mysterious pyramid powers, pre-Columbian voyages to America by ancient Egyptians and Phoenicians, and Velikovsky's cosmic catastrophism. ... The book discusses radio-carbon dating, archaeological stratigraphy, textual interpretation, and epigraphy as well as emphasis on the proper use of data provided by geology, astronomy and other sciences.

Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (fourth edition)

by Kenneth L. Feder
Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2001. 384 pages.

Updated, expanded, and improved for its fourth edition, Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries is a classic, comprehensive, and invaluable treatment of pseudoscience in archaeology. Among the topics discussed are the Cardiff Giant, the Piltdown Hoax, controversies over who settled the Americas, the myth of the Moundbuilders, Atlantis, ancient astronauts, psychic archaeology, creationism, the Shroud of Turin, and what Feder refers to as "real mysteries of a veritable past" — the Paleolithic cave paintings of Europe, the fall of the Maya, Stonehenge, and Kennewick Man.

Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Jared Diamond
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. 494 pages.

Guns, Germs, and Steel takes on the ambitious task of explaining the development of human civilization since the Ice Age, and succeeds marvelously. Arguing that "[h]istory followed different courses for different peoples because of differences among peoples' environments, not because of biological differences among peoples themselves," Jared Diamond explains the rise of the West in terms of geography and environment, debunking racially based theories. Winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction, Guns, Germs, and Steel was praised by E. O.

The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture

edited by Jerome H Barkow, Leda Cosmides, and John Tooby
New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. 688 pages.

In the introduction to The Adapted Mind (published originally in 1992 and a recognized classic in the field), the editors explained, "we hope to provide a preliminary sketch of what a conceptually integrated approach to the behavioral and social sciences might look like." Their approach is premised on the existence of a universal human nature, manifest primarily as psychological mechanisms constructed by natural selection to adapt humans to the way of life of Pleistocene hunter–gatherers, and the contributors use the approach in considering such phenomena as cooperation, mating

Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind, second edition

by David Buss
Boston: Academic Internet Publishers, 2003. 128 pages.

In its first edition, Evolutionary Psychology immediately became the standard textbook for the discipline; the second edition (published in 2003) is thoroughly revised and brought up to date.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

by Steven Pinker
New York: Penguin Books, 2003. 528 pages.

"When it comes to explaining human thought and behavior," Pinker writes in his preface, "the possibility that heredity plays any role at all still has the power to shock." In The Blank Slate, he proceeds to articulate, defend, and consider — all with his trademark humor and eye for detail — the implications of "the new view of human nature and culture" that is emerging from cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and evolutionary psychology. Eugenie C.

On Human Nature

by E. O. Wilson
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. 284 pages.

From the publisher: "No one who cares about the human future can afford to ignore Edward O. Wilson's book. On Human Nature begins a new phase in the most important intellectual controversy of this generation: Is human behavior controlled by the species' biological heritage? Does this heritage limit human destiny? With characteristic pungency and simplicity of style, the author of Sociobiology challenges old prejudices and current misconceptions about the nature-nurture debate. ...


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