An inquisitive, expansive and fascinating exploration of humans as creatures of our own making
Other species adapt to their environments; we alone create ours. Over generations, we have remade the world to suit ourselves – using improved knowledge and technology to confront the traditional scourges – and for the most part we enjoy prosperity beyond the dreams of our ancestors. What’s more, in changing our world, we have also reshaped the human phenotype – the interaction between genes and environment that moulds our bodies and minds.
The results can be seen in the streets of our post-industrial cities. We are taller and heavier, and live longer. We think and behave differently, and die from once-rare diseases. Our experiences of life have been transformed, and in turn so have our societies.
Weaving together biology, social anthropology, epidemiology and history, Edwin Gale examines the shifting physical and mental dimensions of our lives, from ageing to illness, food production to reproduction, designer bodies to IQ tests, and asks: are we a self-domesticated species?