The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 006180648X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Anextraordinary book…. With clarity and charm [Dunn] takes the reader into theoverlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an importantdomain of the human condition.” —EdwardO. Wilson, author of Anthill and The Future of Life

BiologistRob Dunn reveals the crucial influence that other species have upon our health,our well-being, and our world in The WildLife of Our Bodies—a fascinating tour through the hidden truths of natureand codependence. Dunn illuminates the nuanced, often imperceptible relationshipsthat exist between homo sapiens and other species, relationships that underpinhumanity’s ability to thrive and prosper in every circumstance. Readers ofMichael Pollan’s TheOmnivore’s Dilemma will be enthralled by Dunn’s powerful, lucid explorationof the role that humankind plays within the greater web of life on Earth.



















indicator), 186–87, 188 Hong Kong, epiphytes in, 257 hookworm: (Ancylostoma duodenale), 32 (Necator americanus), 32 Cameroon source of, 51–52 costs of, 43 experiments with, 49 Lawrence case, 50–52 Mexican source of, 47 Hugot, Jean-Pierre, 20–21, 22 human bodies, organisms of, 55 humans: clothing of, 211 consciousness of, 252–53 evolving, 11–12, 123, 136–37, 157–58, 252–53 hair of, 210 as hunters, 156–61, 179 newborn, 80–81 nomadic, 210,

lactase-phlorizin hydrolase, 123 lactose, adult ability to digest, 122–23, 124, 126–27, 131–32, 136, 137–39 lactose intolerance, 132 lambs, susceptibility of, 153 land, overuse of, 12 language: in Africa, 137 evolution of, 175 failure to communicate, 85–86 Larson, Doug, 253–57 and The Urban Cliff Revolution, 255 lawns, 198, 257 Lawrence, Jasper, 48–55, 56, 57 Leidy, Joseph, 77 lemurs, 169, 175 Leston, Dennis, 208 Lévi-Strauss, Claude, 186

relatives to infer what its use once was. What did an appendix do in our ancestors when it still had some function, and what does it still do in our close relatives? If our appendix is a vestige of our history, then we might expect monkeys to have more developed and obviously useful appendices than we do. Chimpanzees should have smaller appendices than do most monkeys, since they are our closer kin and their lifestyles (and the usefulness of the appendix to those lifestyles) are more similar to

much, not at first. For the first 500,000 years of our human history, we had nothing more than stones sharp enough to break the marrow free of scavenged bones. With these first tools, we were like hyenas, though less dangerous and far less effective. Eventually, early stone tools were combined with sticks to produce spears. Spears were combined with running and calling back and forth, to chase, at first, smaller herding animals. This appears to have occurred at about the time that wolves too

million people a year, and it is therefore likely that these genes are still favored in many parts of the world, fava beans or not. But malaria is a tropical disease today, and so as individuals with the malaria-killing gene have spread around the world, their genes have spread beyond malaria and beyond their utility. Consequently, many millions of people remain unable to eat fava beans, even though they are unlikely to contract malaria. Those individuals (and you might be one of them) have genes

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