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The Third Chimpanzee has ratings and reviews. Chuck said: Another great book from Jared Diamond. I found this to be just as engaging as Guns. Diamond, Jared. The rise and fall of the third chimpanzee. I. Title. ISBN 0- Photoset by Speedset Ltd, Ellesmere Port. Printed and bound in. The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, published in , was the first of my six books written for the general public. I look back.

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As it turned out, writing The Third Chimpanzee defined a crossroads in my life: Buy The Third Chimpanzee. Then in came a phone call that changed my life.

THe Third Chimpanzee: the evolution and future of the human animal

The awards were made to me and to two dozen other people in the belief that we had something unusual to contribute to the world, and that five years of freedom might encourage and permit us to contribute diamind effectively. Instead of being elated by this unexpected good fortune, I found myself depressed for the only time in my life. It took me a week to realize why. The award was in effect a statement: Jared, the MacArthur judges think that you could contribute more to the world than an understanding of gallbladders and New Guinea birds; you haven’t been living up to your potential; what are you going to do about it?

I realized that I didn’t have to give up gallbladders, New Dianond birds, or my university teaching job. The magazine articles that I had written between andand the public’s response to them, had convinced me that I enjoyed writing dismond the public and that the public enjoyed my writing.

I could thirrd far more to the world by weaving together and explaining information drawn from geography, history, science, languages, and music than I could by making new discoveries about narrow technical subjects. But my background and my ongoing technical research weren’t wasted, because they gave me the scientific outlook and much of the technical background for weaving together geography and those other subjects.

To succeed, a book about science for the public has to please two audiences. First, it has to be interesting and understandable to the general public; my childhood range of interests, my mother’s influence, and my school’s training in how to write had equipped me to address that first audience.


Second, the book has to pass technical critical appraisal by scientists expert in the book’s various subjects.

The only way that I could hope to satisfy that second audience was by discussing those subjects viamond length with those experts, and by asking them to read and correct my drafts.

I had already found, in writing magazine articles, that most scientists whom I asked to help me in understanding their work were pleased to do so, pleased to meet someone else sharing their enthusiasm for their specialty, and generous with their time and knowledge. I began writing The Third Chimpanzee during the years of my MacArthur Fellowship, completed the manuscript’s draft just before the end of my fellowship term inand published it in We routinely draw a fundamental distinction chimpanzew humans and animals.

Humans write, read, talk, and build telescopes and bombs; no animal does any of those things. The first two chapters of The Third Chimpanzee suggest what those decisive small differences might be.

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal

Obviously, at least some of those differences involve our brains, which are four times larger than those of chimpanzees.

Also frequently discussed is our upright posture, freeing up our hands for using tools. Less often discussed is our distinctive sexuality, which occupies the next five chapters of The Third Chimpanzee. Adult humans are approximately as big as adult chimpanzees, and smaller than adult gorillas and orang-utans. Why, then, do male humans have a considerably larger penis than any of those apes, and testes larger than those of gorillas and orang-utans but smaller than those of chimpanzees?

Does the extra length of the human penis constitute wasted protoplasm that would have been more useful if it had been invested instead in a larger brain or a sixth finger? What goes into those quick choices?

Why do men chimpannzee women differ in their interests in and motives for extramarital sex and other behaviors related to sex and reproduction? The Third Chimpanzee then focuses on several traits that apparently are uniquely human and absent among animals: However, the discoveries that we humans are genetically so similar to chimpanzees, and that the human evolutionary line diverged from the chimpanzee line only about 6, years ago, suggests that our language, art, agriculture, and drug abuse must have animal antecedents: While no animal on our planet has evolved antecedents of our space probes and radio signals that we send out of our solar system, we know that there are billions of billions of stars other than damond sun, that many of the stars recently surveyed have planets orbiting them, and that some of those planets are likely to offer to conditions suitable for the evolution of life.


Astronomers Earthly human ones in tried to establish a dialog with those expected intelligent extraterrestrials, by sending radio signals describing what we Earthlings are like, and where our planet is located. One of the chapters is about the most debated question of historical linguistics: Included in this section of The Third Chimpanzee is also the grimmest chapter in any of my books, on genocide. Why do people do it, and what can be done to stop it?

The last three chapters of The Third Chimpanzee are on a subject expanded 14 years later in my book Collapse: Already inample information was available to tell the stories of the destruction of the moas and other large birds of New Zealand, of the elephant birds and large mammals of Madagascar, and of the giant ground sloths and most of the other large mammals of North and South America.

Since I first released Xiamond Third Chimpanzee jareedscientists have accumulated exciting new discoveries in all areas that the book discussed. A jraed edition released in adds a section summarizing some of those exciting discoveries, which enrich without fundamentally overturning our understanding that I originally presented. Harper Collins, New York, Like most children, while growing up I was fascinated by a much wider range of things than an adult could pursue professionally as a career.