On Fertile Ground by Peter T. Ellison
A Natural History of Human Reproduction

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Reproduction is among the most basic of human biological functions, both for our distant ancestors and for ourselves, whether we live on the plains of Africa or in North American suburbs. Our reproductive biology unites us as a species, but it has also been an important engine of our evolution. In the way our bodies function today we can see both the imprint of our formative past and implications for our future. It is the infinitely subtle and endlessly dramatic story of human reproduction and its evolutionary context that Peter T. Ellison tells in On Fertile Ground.

Ranging from the latest achievements of modern fertility clinics to the lives of subsistence farmers in the rain forests of Africa, this book offers both a remarkably broad and a minutely detailed exploration of human reproduction. Ellison, a leading pioneer in the field, combines the perspectives of anthropology, stressing the range and variation of human experience; ecology, sensitive to the two-way interactions between humans and their environments; and evolutionary biology, emphasizing a functional understanding of human reproductive biology and its role in our evolutionary history.

Whether contrasting female athletes missing their periods and male athletes using anabolic steroids with Polish farm women and hunter-gatherers in Paraguay, or exploring the intricate choreography of an implanting embryo or of a nursing mother and her child, On Fertile Ground advances a rich and deeply satisfying explanation of the mechanisms by which we reproduce and the evolutionary forces behind their design.


About Peter T. Ellison

See more books from this Author
Peter T. Ellison is John Cowles Professor of Anthropology and Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.
Published June 30, 2009 by Harvard University Press. 368 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for On Fertile Ground

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Fertility is undoubtedly the least often discussed facet of the reproductive process, in large part because scientists haven't had the tools needed to study it until recently, but also because, well, it's just not very sexy.

| Read Full Review of On Fertile Ground: A Natural ...

Project MUSE

Ellison's premise is that selection on the reproductive system must be particularly strong because variation in reproductive function is often directly linked to variation in reproductive success (pp.

| Read Full Review of On Fertile Ground: A Natural ...

Reader Rating for On Fertile Ground

An aggregated and normalized score based on 10 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review