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The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: How Our Animal Heritage Affects the Way We Live Paperback – July 1, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Eloquent and knowledgeable account of the tiny genetic difference between humans and chimps" Independent "Some biologists are just scientists; but some truly are thinkers. Jared Diamond is one of the latter. Whatever he applies himself to, his contribution is original and worthwhile" -- Colin Tudge "A fascinating portrait with more than enough uncomfortable facts to stop any dinner-party conversation in its tracks - an important book" Financial Times "Confirms Diamond as an impressive scholar and popularizer-an enjoyable, stimulating and audacious book" Nature

About the Author

Jared Diamond is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. Until recently he was Professor of Physiology at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the widely acclaimed Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies, which also is the winner of Britain's 1998 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books; New Ed edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099913801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099913801
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #524,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jared Diamond is a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles. He began his scientific career in physiology and expanded into evolutionary biology and biogeography. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. Among Dr. Diamond's many awards are the National Medal of Science, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, Japan's Cosmos Prize, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet, presented by Rockefeller University. He has published more than six hundred articles and several books including the New York Times bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel," which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Additional information about Dr. Diamond may be found at his personal website, www.jareddiamond.org.

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#48 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" I became hooked on the subject of global history and evolution. Consequently, I couldn't wait to get my hands on "The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee". Diamond's writing is not only extremely interesting, it is interest-shaping, and I was not disappointed with this second highly compulsive read. For those who have read GG&S, I can say that both books compliment one another nicely. The Rise & Fall covers similar themes - expanding on many, and opening the way for GG&S to cover many others. Anyone who enjoyed one book will surely enjoy the other.

To begin with, Diamond first examines the fact that we share more than 98 per cent of our genes with chimps, and so he concludes that by the rules of zoology we are in fact a third species of chimp. He then proceeds with his thesis, setting out to examine what it is in our genes that accounts for our dramatic rise and makes us so exceptionally different to chimps and all other animals. Much of his discussion examines the following proposition: There must be animal precedents in the things that we like to feel make us human (including tools, art, language, and plant and animal domestication) - as well as in some less positive things (murder, genocide, habitat destruction) - for such a small difference in genes to have gone such a long way. Accordingly, there is much to fascinate people who enjoy reading about some of the wonderful oddities and curiosities belonging to the human and animal kingdom, as Diamond considers the precedents and precursors of these attributes in animals, and then traces their rise in Cro-Magnon man.
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Format: Paperback
What I fail to see mentioned in any of the reviews thus far is that this book (`The Rise and Fall') is identical to an updated title by Jared Diamond, namely, "The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal" circa 2006. Interestingly, the reviews of that book (`The Third Chimpanzee') also fail to mention that it is an updated version of this book (`The Rise and Fall'). Upon comparison, the differences appear to be quite minimal; the general thrust is identical. Nothing about this relationship is mentioned at the Jared Diamond page either. However, please be aware that with very little effort, this older version (`The Rise and Fall') can be found in a free PDF format.
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Format: Paperback
I had read the Jared Diamond's books Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed: Revised Edition quite some while ago and was thoroughly impressed with the author's incisive look at humans in the natural world, particularly their effect on the other members of Earth's biota and on one another. The former book is an absolute classic and makes such thorough sense of what occurred in and after the 15th century that it should be required reading in most history courses. These and the present book are often cited in works by other authors, and since I had not read The Third Chimpanzee, I thought it was about time.

There is a lot of very interesting information in the book. Though some of it I had read before in other contexts, here what are fragments of data in other books are arranged in a way that their importance to the whole picture of human history can be more easily understood and appreciated. The author definitely has a handle on the wider perspective. As a naturalist and professor of physiology, he sees humanity as "Homo sapiens," and animal much like other animals.

I had read about the concept and content of "Indo-European" languages years ago when studying ancient history.
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Format: Paperback
This is my second book of Jared Diamond after "Guns, Germs and Steel" and without any doubt this is a very informative book. Especially the chapters on human sexuality was very much new to me. Also he convincingly puts the case of conservation of environment. In fact, if you have any doubt about the urgency of conserving environment, read this book. You might see so many things in a new light. You might even be motivated to donate funds for the conservation societies like WWF.

At the end, actualy it paints a bleak future for humanity and is somewhat a depressing book in this sense.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book title is " The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee" and the author is Jared Diamond.

Do you believe that you are directly related to today's apes? Specifically, that you are a third species of chimpanzee? Jared Diamond makes a pretty strong case for it. Moreover DNA testing proves that chimps are our closest living relative. You may not have known it, but there are two species of chimp in the world today; the common chimp and the Bonobo or pygmy chimp. if humans are as closely related to them as DNA testing indicates, then we are clearly the third species of chimpanzee.

I recently observed the Bonobos in the San Diego zoo and I didn't know whether they were Bonobos or common chimps until I read the sign telling me that they were Bonobos. It was about two million years ago that these two chimp species had a common ancestor and after all that time elapsing, it is hard to tell them apart. It is only about 5 to 7 million years ago, that humans and chimps had a common ancestor according to DNA aging analysis yet it is obvious that we humans are very different from chimps. How did this come to be?

Jared Diamond fills the rest of his book answering that question. Much of the ground-breaking research and discovery in the story of pre-humans and prehistoric humans was done by anthropologists and their work is summarized by Diamond. Yet Diamond has lived among stone age cultures and has a large contribution to make to the discussion from that valuable experience. Moreover, Diamond is an independent thinker in the full sense of the term. He doesn't always agree with the popular scientific views and builds very good cases for his differing interpretations.

If human prehistory interests you, then I think you will enjoy this book.
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