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Publisher's Summary

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but are we really any more special than other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox - that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special - lies at the heart of who we are.

In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.

The Book of Humans tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals and reveals how we are extraordinary among them.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our Desktop Site.

©2018 Adam Rutherford (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about The Book of Humans

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Wonderful

Well written and well read by the author. I loved it so much I purchased the hard copy for future reference.

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  • Rene De Paula Jr.
  • 13-07-2021

so inspiring!

I definitely needed this wonderful mix of information and inspiration, of curiosity and wisdom, of love for nature and love for humanity.

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  • Forrester bushcraft
  • 15-10-2018

a wonderful book

an exceptionally well written book ideal for both those with a casual interest in who we are and a pleasant read for those with a little more knowledge.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-02-2020

Very good!

It’s a fresh intake, nicely performed and greatly paced. It’s also a great read if you have already read other similar titles like “Sapiens”.

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  • Lasse Rindom
  • 07-06-2019

Lacks focus

10 chapters about animal sex was amusing, but too much for the focus of the book. I forgot the agenda during it and lost a bit of interest after that. But Adam is bursting with fun facts and great comparisons, as always.

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  • John
  • 09-12-2020

Fantastic and insightful

Loved this book. Really gives a look into human behaviour with an affective biological basis. The author is very good at communicating ideas and concepts, and the level is perfect for someone wanting a good amount of science but at the same time accessible. Hugely enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-05-2022

The Greatest Anthropology Book Ever!

Brilliant book! Full of great brain-stretching exercises to keep the intellect muscles working, on everyone's favourite subject, us! Listened to it all in one go and I was really excited by the new and cutting edge research. Especially grateful for the top-notch research into animal behaviours regarding dolphins, (let's not talk about the otters) kept everyone in the pub enthralled!

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  • Mr. A.Blk
  • 14-04-2022

very easy on the ear

brief history of manking throughout millenia, full of interesting information about habits or random species we can relate to

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  • A.K.
  • 11-04-2022

Science made simple

A really fascinating and easy to follow stroll through human evolution, behaviour and genetics with comparisons to other animals. great narration by Adam Rutherford. Brought it all alive!

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  • Michael G.
  • 27-01-2022

Is Dr Rutherford a tad sex-obsessed?

Very entertaining, but I was surprised by just how much was about sex. Male-male couplings in giraffes was fine but he then had a chapter on animal oral sex (think bears in Belgrade zoo), loads on bonobos and then stuff on necrophilia. Clearly he wanted to tell us stuff we would not hear about in a mainstream science book, and he was successful. The best fun fact was the dolphin using an electric eel as an aid to masturbation! It made me laugh!

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  • Mirdza Abele
  • 03-12-2019

Increadible

An increadible book, truly an eye opener on nature, what is natural and who is the human animal. This type of knowledge should be part of fundamental education in schools.

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