Pandora's Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival

Pandora's Seed: Why the Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival

Paperback

By (author) Spencer Wells

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  • Publisher: Random House Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 202mm x 18mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 13 September 2011
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0812971914
  • ISBN 13: 9780812971910
  • Illustrations note: B/W PHOTOS GRAPHS, CHARTS THROUGHOUT
  • Sales rank: 220,513

Product description

Ten thousand years ago, our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter-gatherers. Although this decision propelled us into the modern world, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells demonstrates that such a dramatic change in lifestyle had a downside that we're only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources created hierarchies and inequalities. Freedom of movement was replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety millions feel today. Spencer Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill-suited. "Pandora's Seed" is an eye-opening book for anyone fascinated by the past and concerned about the future.

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Author information

Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of '56 Professor at Cornell University. He leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet. Wells received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has written two books, The Journey of Man and Deep Ancestry. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, a documentary filmmaker.

Review quote

"Fascinating--this book has some very new ways of looking at very old issues." --Bill McKibben, bestselling author of "The End of Nature " "Spencer Wells--explorer, geneticist, geographer, and author--takes us on an exciting tour of the last 10,000 years of our history in order to forewarn us of what we shall have to deal with in the next 50 years." --Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography at UCLA, and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of "Guns, Germs, and Steel "Spencer Wells's writing combines a deep knowledge of the history of human evolution with a most engaging and lively manner of making that story come alive. Pandora's Seed draws upon compelling anecdotes and moving personal narratives to crystallize a crucial turning point in the history of our species, the point at which modern human beings stop and look back at our long evolutionary trajectory, and confront squarely its dark side, its cost. With this knowledge, Wells deeply believes, we can take the necessary st