Tree of Origin by Frans B. M. de Waal
What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution

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Synopsis

How did we become the linguistic, cultured, and hugely successful apes that we are? Our closest relatives--the other mentally complex and socially skilled primates--offer tantalizing clues. In Tree of Origin nine of the world's top primate experts read these clues and compose the most extensive picture to date of what the behavior of monkeys and apes can tell us about our own evolution as a species.

It has been nearly fifteen years since a single volume addressed the issue of human evolution from a primate perspective, and in that time we have witnessed explosive growth in research on the subject. Tree of Origin gives us the latest news about bonobos, the "make love not war" apes who behave so dramatically unlike chimpanzees. We learn about the tool traditions and social customs that set each ape community apart. We see how DNA analysis is revolutionizing our understanding of paternity, intergroup migration, and reproductive success. And we confront intriguing discoveries about primate hunting behavior, politics, cognition, diet, and the evolution of language and intelligence that challenge claims of human uniqueness in new and subtle ways.

Tree of Origin provides the clearest glimpse yet of the apelike ancestor who left the forest and began the long journey toward modern humanity.

 

About Frans B. M. de Waal

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Published October 15, 2002 by Harvard University Press. 320 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Tree of Origin

Publishers Weekly

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Each also summarizes the current state of research into some aspect of primate behavior and what we can learn from it about the evolution of human life and culture.

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London Review of Books

Tree of Origin describes in some detail chimpanzee and bonobo society, as well as that of muriquis, the most ape-like monkeys, and speculates about possible stages in the transition to humanity: hunting and meat-sharing, root-digging and cooking, minds that could learn programmes of behaviour, br...

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