Wednesday, July 21, 2010

forty-six

The Well-Dressed Ape: A Natural History of Myself

I picked up The Well-Dressed Ape a little randomly in the library, and don't really regret it. Her writing is a little corny, she's obviously incomplete in a full description of the human body (that would be impossible), and sometimes the research felt either incomplete or repetitive. However, through those flaws, I definitely enjoyed the book. The premise is a field description of the animal homo sapiens. She goes top to bottom, describing brain, senses, posture, reproduction, locomotion, eating, homeostasis, and all kinds of behavior. She uses the homunculus analogy in her description of brain real estate, but the same analogy could be used in her page real estate. Most of her focus is on the senses, sexual behavior, brain usage, etc - I would have loved to be regaled with anecdotes and information about the organs, the bones, the muscles, the circulatory system, etc. Some of these get small mentions, but I wanted more. For someone who's not read a lot of books about human biology/psychology/evolution, the research she goes through won't be repetitive, but I tend to like that sort of book. Her approach on a familiar topic is unique enough that I stayed interested even through parts I found boring. Definitely recommended.

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