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Transcendence How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time

by Gaia Vince

Transcendence How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time Synopsis

A TIMES BEST BOOK OF 2019 'A wondrous, visionary work' Tim Flannery, scientist and author of the bestselling The Weather Makers From the prize-winning author of Adventures in the Anthropocene, the astonishing story of how culture enabled us to become the most successful species on Earth Humans are the most successful species on Earth; a planet-altering force of nature. Meanwhile, our closest living relatives, the now-endangered chimpanzees, continue to live as they have for millions of years. Yet we evolved through the same process. What are we then? And now we have remade the world, what are we becoming? Setting out to answer this question, Gaia Vince retells our evolution story. Unlike any other species on earth we determine the course of our own destiny, something that she argues rests on a special relationship between our genes, environment and culture going back into deep time. It is our collective culture, rather than our individual intelligence, that makes humans unique. Vince shows how our four evolutionary drivers - Fire, Language, Beauty and Time - are further transforming our species into a superorganism: a hyper-cooperative mass of humanity that she calls Homo omnis, or 'Homni'. Drawing on cutting-edge advances in population genetics, archaeology, palaeontology and neuroscience, Transcendence compels us to reimagine ourselves, showing us to be on the brink of something grander - and potentially more destructive. To think of humans as a smarter sort of chimp with cool tools is to miss what is truly extraordinary about us. Look around you: we are the intelligent designers of all you see - including ourselves.

Transcendence How Humans Evolved through Fire, Language, Beauty, and Time Press Reviews

Gaia Vince's enthralling second book, ideal for anyone who loved Sapiens, shows how a unique combination of genes, environment and culture (from our love of objects to our knowledge of mortality) has enabled us to determine our own destiny, uniquely among species on earth. * The Bookseller * This book goes from the Big Bang to the Hundred Thousand Genome Project to make a convincing case that Homo sapiens has become a super-organism. I learned a lot from it and so will you. -- Steve Jones, Emeritus Professor of Human Genetics UCL, author of 'Almost Like a Whale' An imaginative and inspiring adventure into the origins and evolution of what we hold most dear: our human culture. -- Uta Frith, Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development UCL Vince draws on extensive travels and many interviews with scientists to offer vivid accounts of these forces at work in the lives of our cultural forebears. A provocative, highly readable take on our astonishing emergence from the primordial soup. * Kirkus * Transcendence is a beautifully imaginative overview of the biological and cultural evolution of humans. Richly informed by the latest research, Gaia Vince's colorful survey fizzes like a zip-wire as it tours our species' story from the Big Bang to the coming age of hypercooperation. -- Richard Wrangham * Professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University and author of The Goodness Paradox * A wondrous, visionary work. -- Tim Flannery, scientist and author of the bestselling 'The Weather Makers' Even those broadly familiar with humanity's story will find new information and insights in Vince's fascinating study. * Publishers Weekly * Wonderful. There was a lot I hadn't heard about before . . . interesting and enlightening. -- Robin Ince The storming success of Yuval Noah Harari's books has inspired many others that aim to span the epic sweep of human history with grand theories and cor-blimey factoids. This book does both well. -- The Times * Best Science and Medicine Books of the Year 2019 * Beautifully written . . . At her best Vince takes dizzying leaps, making connections between archaeology, anthropology, genetics and psychology. She is especially good on the delicate interplay between genes, environment and culture. Vince steps with lightness. -- Tom Whipple * The Times * A hugely enjoyable sprint through human evolutionary history . . . Read it. -- Tim Radford * Nature *

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241281116
Publication date: 7th November 2019
Author: Gaia Vince
Publisher: Allen Lane an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
Categories: Anthropology, Evolution, Early man, Social & cultural history,

About Gaia Vince

Gaia Vince is a science writer and broadcaster interested in the interplay between humans and the planetary environment. She has held senior editorial posts at Nature and New Scientist, and her writing has featured in newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, The Times and Scientific American. She also writes and presents science programmes for radio and television. Her research takes her across the world: she has visited more than 60 countries, lived in three and is currently based in London. In 2015, she became the first woman to win the Royal Society Science Book of the Year Prize solo for her debut, ...

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