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Thumbs, Toes, and Tears
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"A fluid introduction to the development of the human species."--Booklist Among the countless traits and behaviors that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom, six stand out--our big toe, opposable thumb, oddly shaped pharynx, and our abilities to laugh, kiss, and cry. Though seemingly unconnected, they are actually closely linked, each marking a fork in the evolutionary road where we went one way and the rest of the animal kingdom went another. Drawing on complexity theory, the latest brain scanning techniques, and new insights from fields as diverse as anthropology and artificial intelligence, science writer Chip Walter explains why our brains grew so large and complex, why we find one another sexually attractive, how tool making laid the mental groundwork for language, why we care about what others think, and how we became the creature that laughs and cries and falls in love. Original, informative, and thought-provoking, Thumbs, Toes, and Tears will increase your sense of wonder and appreciation for how unique Homo sapiens truly is.
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About the Author

Chip Walter is a science writer, documentary filmmaker, and former CNN bureau chief who has written for Scientific American, Discover, the Economist, and many other publications. Walter lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Reviews

"With a story teller's skill Chip Walter urges us to see how great things come from small beginnings. He refreshingly points out that while ideas have consequences, so do big toes, opposable thumbs and four other human traits that, mostly, we take for granted. We may have much in common with the animal world, but thanks to an unlikely collision of seemingly small evolutionary changes something extraordinary happened -- the human race. A fascinating read." --Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, and author of "The Ethical Brain""" " Eons ago, we started to stand straight with our big toes, freeing our hands, evolving our thumbs, manipulating our environment, transforming the thoughts in our expanded brains into changed realities. In this brilliant account of how the majestic human enterprise started from these humble beginnings, Chip Walter vividly tells the ambiguous, messy, and utterly fascinating stories that led to our becoming the technology-creating species." "--Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" "Fascinating and superbly written." --Publishers Weekly "Lively writing throughout." --Kirkus Reviews "Eons ago, we started to stand straight with our big toes, freeing our hands, evolving our thumbs, manipulating our environment, transforming the thoughts in our expanded brains into changed realities. In this brilliant account of how the majestic human enterprise started from these humble beginnings, Chip Walter vividly tells the ambiguous, messy, and utterly fascinating stories that led to our becoming the technology-creating species." --Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology "With a story teller's skill Chip Walter urges us to see how great things come from small beginnings. He refreshingly points out that while ideas have consequences, so do big toes, opposable thumbs and four other human traits that, mostly, we take for granted. We may have much in common with the animal world, but thanks to an unlikely collision of seemingly small evolutionary changes something extraordinary happened -- the human race. A fascinating read." --Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, and author of The Ethical Brain Fascinating and superbly written. "Publishers Weekly" Lively writing throughout. "Kirkus Reviews" Eons ago, we started to stand straight with our big toes, freeing our hands, evolving our thumbs, manipulating our environment, transforming the thoughts in our expanded brains into changed realities. In this brilliant account of how the majestic human enterprise started from these humble beginnings, Chip Walter vividly tells the ambiguous, messy, and utterly fascinating stories that led to our becoming the technology-creating species. "Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology" With a story teller's skill Chip Walter urges us to see how great things come from small beginnings. He refreshingly points out that while ideas have consequences, so do big toes, opposable thumbs and four other human traits that, mostly, we take for granted. We may have much in common with the animal world, but thanks to an unlikely collision of seemingly small evolutionary changes something extraordinary happened -- the human race. A fascinating read. "Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, and author of The Ethical Brain"" "Fascinating and superbly written."--"Publishers Weekly ""Lively writing throughout."--"Kirkus Reviews " "Eons ago, we started to stand straight with our big toes, freeing our hands, evolving our thumbs, manipulating our environment, transforming the thoughts in our expanded brains into changed realities. In this brilliant account of how the majestic human enterprise started from these humble beginnings, Chip Walter vividly tells the ambiguous, messy, and utterly fascinating stories that led to our becoming the technology-creating species."--Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology "With a story teller's skill Chip Walter urges us to see how great things come from small beginnings. He refreshingly points out that while ideas have consequences, so do big toes, opposable thumbs and four other human traits that, mostly, we take for granted. We may have much in common with the animal world, but thanks to an unlikely collision of seemingly small evolutionary changes something extraordinary happened -- the human race. A fascinating read."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, and author of The Ethical Brain Praise for "Thumbs, Toes, and Tears "(A Book Sense pick): "Fascinating and superbly written."--"Publishers Weekly ""Lively writing throughout."--"Kirkus Reviews " "Eons ago, we started to stand straight with our big toes, freeing our hands, evolving our thumbs, manipulating our environment, transforming the thoughts in our expanded brains into changed realities. In this brilliant account of how the majestic human enterprise started from these humble beginnings, Chip Walter vividly tells the ambiguous, messy, and utterly fascinating stories that led to our becoming the technology-creating species."--Ray Kurzweil, inventor and author of The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology "With a story teller's skill Chip Walter urges us to see how great things come from small beginnings. He refreshingly points out that while ideas have consequences, so do big toes, opposable thumbs and four other human traits that, mostly, we take for granted. We may have much in common with the animal world, but thanks to an unlikely collision of seemingly small evolutionary changes something extraordinary happened -- the human race. A fascinating read."--Michael S. Gazzaniga, Ph.D. Director, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College, and author of The Ethical Brain

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