- 119,00 kr
Are chimps almost human? Are we just smarter chimps? What does that oft-quoted 1.6% difference in DNA actually mean? As teams worldwide seek the genetic basis of our humanity, a complex picture is emerging. Small changes in key genes can cause big ones in brains, bodies and behaviour. We've changed profoundly since the chimp-human split.
Taylor, a science writer and documentary producer, has a serious beef with scientists and activists who want to equate chimps and other apes with humans, claiming that the fundamental distinctions between the biological and social development of men and chimps is consistently overlooked by anthropomorphizing primatologists and comparative biologists. Taylor's arguments are generally well-reasoned, supported by clear analyses and ongoing genetics research, and he's adept at explaining complex molecular processes and their study for non-geneticists (though more illustrations would have helped). Taylor also describes studies of chimp behavior in the lab, for example, attempting to discover if chimps are able to link cause and effect in daily events ("folk physics"). Taylor also compares lab-based tool-use in chimps with that of birds, particularly New Caledonian Crows (the geniuses of the corvid clan). Unfortunately, Taylor's tone is frequently abrasive; his criticisms are generally valid, but scientists who agree with him get off easy, while those who disagree are subject to severe examination. Taylor certainly has more than a few worthy points, but it's hard to swallow them with so much bitter sentiment in the mix.