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Publisher's Summary

The complex story of human evolution is a tale seven million years in the making. Each new discovery adds to or revises our story and our understanding of how we came to be the way we are.

In this audiobook, The Human Odyssey, we explore the evolution of those characteristics that make us human. The first section looks at our family tree and why some branches survived and not others. Swings in climate are emerging as a factor in what traits succeeded and failed; meanwhile, DNA analyses show that Homo sapiens interbred with other human species, which played a key role in our survival. 

Section two examines those traits that separate us from other primates. Recent data indicate that our hairless skin was important to the rise of other human features, and other research is getting closer to illuminating how humans became monogamous. In the final section we speculate on the future of human evolution in a world where advances in technology, medicine, and other areas protect us from harmful factors like disease, causing some scientists to claim that humans are no longer subject to natural selection and our evolution has ceased. 

But, like us, our story will continue to evolve.

©2017 by Scientific American, a division of Nature America, Inc. Scientific American is a registered trademark of Nature America, Inc. (P)2020 Blackstone Publishing

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  • Sulpicia
  • 13-11-2020

Great selection of human evolution articles (2016)

This is a great selection of articles on human evolution. While they are written for the public, the science is up to date (as of 2016, since that's when this issue was published). It's rather like listening to a set of short lectures by different scientists (albeit all given in the same voice) on some of the current issues in paleoanthropology. Highly recommended for those who (like me) have exhausted most of Audible's works on paleoanthrpology and are looking for something new. If you're more of a beginner, I might suggest a few other titles first (e.g. The Rise of Humans by John Hawks). Kate Mulligan (narrator) does a nice job of reading the articles aloud and only makes a couple minor mispronunciations that aren't distracting or annoying. Her narration is easy to follow and at a good pace for following the information.

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