Big Bangs, Behaviors, and Beliefs
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After several million years of jostling for ecological space, only one survivor from a host of hominid species remains standing: us. Human beings are extraordinary—and extraordinarily successful—creatures, and it is the unprecedented human brain that makes them so. But what evolutionary process led to such an amazing machine? New research by neuroscientists, paleontologists, and others reveals startling answers.
In The Brain, authors Rob DeSall and Ian Tattersall present the first full, step-by-step account of the evolution of the brain and nervous system. Tapping the very latest findings in evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and molecular biology, they explain how the cognitive gulf that separates us from all other living creatures could have occurred. Along the way, they discuss the development and uniqueness of human consciousness, how human and nonhuman brains work, the roles of different nerve cells, and the importance of memory and language in brain functions. In addition, they also offer insights on the true complexity (and murkiness) of the decision-making processes that go on in our brains and reveal how the qualities of our minds that we prize the most are “emergent,” rather than the fine-tuned products of eons of natural selection.
Our brains, they conclude, are the product of a lengthy and supremely untidy history—an evolutionary process of many zigs and zags—that has accidentally resulted in a splendidly eccentric and creative product. In illuminating this history, they give us newfound appreciation of where our brains come from and even, perhaps, where they’re going.
Hardcover Book : 368 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press ( April 24, 2012 )
Item #: 13-581724
Product Dimensions: 7.0 x 9.0 inches
Product Weight: 26.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)