In Ancestors in Our Genome, molecular anthropologist Eugene E. Harris presents us with a complete and up-to-date account of the evolution of the human genome and our species.
Written from the perspective of population genetics, and in simple terms, the book traces human origins back to their source among our earliest human ancestors, and explains many of the most intriguing questions that genome scientists are currently working to answer.
For example, what does the high level of discordance among the gene trees of humans and the African great apes tell us about our respective separations from our common ancestor? Was our separation from the apes fast or slow, and when and why did it occur? Where, when, and how did our modern species evolve? How do we search across genomes to find the genomic underpinnings of our large and complex brains and language abilities? How can we find the genomic bases for life at high altitudes, for lactose tolerance, resistance to disease, and for our different skin pigmentations? How and when did we interbreed with Neandertals and the recently discovered ancient Denisovans of Asia?
Harris draws upon extensive experience researching primate evolution in order to deliver a lively and thorough history of human evolution.
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Population genetics textbook with bad narrator
I am very interested in the subject matter of the book, but I found it hard to get through because 1) the narrator is awful... he sounds like a local news reporter covering a mall fire. At the end of every sentence, the pitch of his voice goes up and he stretches out the last syllable. I half expected him to say "Chris Sorensen, News 10." I also had to speed up his voice to 1.2x because it was so slow. After the first minute of the book, I debated returning it because it was so unlistenable, but I really wanted to hear the content. I often see people complain about narrators in audiobook reviews, and I don't find that I mind the narrator myself, but this one -- you've been warned. 2) The book's content is quite interesting to me. Whenever people write about a scientific subject, they have to teach you something about the scientific principles (e.g., population genetics) before they can get to the cool information they learned by applying those principles to the subject matter (e.g., how humans evolved). This book veers too far toward the former and doesn't do enough of the latter. So, most of it is teaching you the principles of population genetics. I have taken and enjoyed population genetics, but I was hoping to learn more about what it teaches us about human evolution. However, this book is more like a textbook -- 90% population genetics principles and 10% any application to human origins. Now picture a genetics textbook being read aloud by a slow, nasal local news reporter, and you get a sense of it.
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