- Series: P.S.
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 edition (January 3, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060845503
- ISBN-13: 978-0060845506
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 202 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,757 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (P.S.) 1st Edition
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About the Author
Jared Diamond is the author of the bestselling Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel. A professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, he has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He is a MacArthur Fellow and was awarded the National Medal of Science.
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NOTE: Early in the book, Diamond makes an argument as to why humans and neanderthals could not have interbred. However, since this book was written (1990's), DNA evidence has proven that humans did breed with neanderthals.
I have to say undoubtedly yes. This book, like the more recent ones, proposes answers to some of the biggest questions about humanity. Thus, even though the book is outdated, The Third Chimpanzee is great at both asking the important questions and explaining a process for answering them. The book covers everything from human language, sexuality, drinking, agriculture, and geopolitics through the analytical lens of evolutionary science. Thus, Diamond finds more interesting (and probably accurate) answers than those of philosophers, anthropologists, and political scientists addressing those same questions.
Another benefit of this book is that it is actually broader in scope than Diamond's more recent books. The latter chapters of the book deal with the same subjects as Guns, Germs, and Steel (why some civilizations grew rapidly) and Collapse (how civilization risks its existence through ecological destruction). However, the first half of the book, deals with different topics, from evolutionary explanations for alcoholism to why humans have sex in private. In fact, if you only have time to read one of Diamond's book, I recommend The Third Chimpanzee as it includes a broader range.
This addition of the book also includes a useful postscript which addresses some of the advances in our understanding of these topics since the book was first written.