Pandora's Seed by Spencer Wells
The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

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Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. Pandora’s Seed is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.

About Spencer Wells

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Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of '56 Professor at Cornell University. He leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet. Wells received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has written two books, The Journey of Man and Deep Ancestry. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, a documentary filmmaker.
Published June 3, 2010 by Random House. 256 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Sports & Outdoors, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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A population geneticist examines how human endeavors have shaped the world and finds that not all the changes have been beneficial.

Jun 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Pandora's Seed: The Unforesee...

New York Journal of Books

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... Book Review ... This is really a book about the law of unforeseen consequences.
.... As with the original Pandora's Box filled with disaster and evil, in the bottom of
this box there is ... Other Reviews in Ecology & Environ...

Jun 08 2010 | Read Full Review of Pandora's Seed: The Unforesee...

Austin Chronicle

In other words, by establishing the facts of evolution – the where, when, why, and how of human, animal, and plant genetic selection, survival, and extinction – Wells proves that we are pretty much done with theories of evolution.

Jul 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Pandora's Seed: The Unforesee...

Science News

“It is time,” Wells writes, “to take stock and realize that with great desires come great consequences.” Random House, 2010, 230 p., $26.

Jul 02 2010 | Read Full Review of Pandora's Seed: The Unforesee...


According to Spencer Wells, geneticist, anthropologist and Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, the most revolutionary moment in human history wasn’t when Homo sapiens stepped out of Africa or Nicolaus Copernicus discovered that Earth wasn’t the centre of the universe: it was...

Aug 26 2010 | Read Full Review of Pandora's Seed: The Unforesee...

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