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Old 04-08-2011, 11:03 AM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Location: Smack in the middle of The Spanish Revolution!
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I'm looking forward to reading this book.

I don't want to highjack this thread, but since there might be some general interest in ground-breaking anthropological books among people who check in here, I want to mention 2 others that I find excellent:

"The Descent Of Woman" by Elaine Morgan. She is (was? Will be 90 this year if she's still alive.) a journalist who adopted a theory by biologist Sir Alister Clavering Hardy that proto-humans had - after coming down out of the trees - returned to an aquatic stage (or at least beach-based with a lot of time actually spent in the water). Her book is very readable and made a lot of sense to me. She scoffs at the "Tarzan" school of evolutionists, who, when they can't think of any other reason for a particular evolutionary feature, throw it into a big bag labelled "for sexual attraction". She supplies much more believable reasons for those adaptations. The title of her book comes from the fact that she believes that most evolutionary change happens more because of the female's (and child's) needs than because of the male's needs.

Fascinating reading and I strongly feel that it should be taught - at least as a plausible theory - in schools, but it has been pooh-poohed by Desmond Morris and company. (Morgan wrote a reply to their reaction, which I've just found out about on her Wikipedia page, entitled "The Naked Darwinist (2008)".

I actually read Morris' "The Naked Ape" after (and because of) reading "The Descent Of Woman"... and had to put it down quickly because I found - like Morgan - some of its theories so ridiculous.

+++

"Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches" by Marvin Harris. This is more on a cultural level: convincingly explains - among much more - why eating pork is forbidden to Jews and Muslims, cows are sacred in India, and the common image of the witch riding a broomstick. (That last explanation is amazing!)
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