- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: HarpPeren (October 23, 1992)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060984031
- ISBN-13: 978-0060984038
- Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 201 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Third Chimpanzee, The
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Jared Diamond states the theme of his book up-front: "How the human species changed, within a short time, from just another species of big mammal to a world conqueror; and how we acquired the capacity to reverse all that progress overnight." The Third Chimpanzee is, in many ways, a prequel to Diamond's prize-winning Guns, Germs, and Steel. While Guns examines "the fates of human societies," this work surveys the longer sweep of human evolution, from our origin as just another chimpanzee a few million years ago. Diamond writes:
It's obvious that humans are unlike all animals. It's also obvious that we're a species of big mammal down to the minutest details of our anatomy and our molecules. That contradiction is the most fascinating feature of the human species.
The chapters in The Third Chimpanzee on the oddities of human reproductive biology were later expanded in Why Is Sex Fun? Here, they're linked to Diamond's views of human psychology and history.
Diamond is officially a physiologist at UCLA medical school, but he's also one of the best birdwatchers in the world. The current scientific consensus that "primitive" humans created ecological catastrophes in the Pacific islands, Australia, and the New World owes a great deal to his fieldwork and insight. In Diamond's view, the current global ecological crisis isn't due to modern technology per se, but to basic weaknesses in human nature. But, he says, "I'm cautiously optimistic. If we will learn from our past that I have traced, our own future may yet prove brighter than that of the other two chimpanzees." --Mary Ellen Curtin
From Library Journal
Research biologist (Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands) Diamond argues that the human being is just a third species of chimpanzee but nevertheless a unique animal essentially due to its capacity for innovation, which caused a great leap forward in hominoid evolution. After stressing the significance of spoken language, along with art and technology, Diamond focuses on the self-destructive propensities of our species to kill each other (genocide and drug abuse) and to destroy the environment (mass extinctions). He also discusses human sexuality, geographic variability, and ramifications of agriculture (metallurgy, cultivated plants, and domesticated animals). Absent from Diamond's work is the role religion plays in causing both war and the population explosion as well as long-range speculations on the future of our species. This informative, most fascinating, and very readable book is highly recommended for all libraries.
- H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.