Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution

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As in the bestselling The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, Leonard Shlain’s provocative new book promises to change the way readers view themselves and where they came from.

Sex, Time, and Power offers a tantalizing answer to an age-old question: Why did big-brained Homo sapiens suddenly emerge some 150,000 years ago? The key, according to Shlain, is female sexuality. Drawing on an awesome breadth of research, he shows how, long ago, the narrowness of the newly bipedal human female’s pelvis and the increasing size of infants’ heads precipitated a crisis for the species. Natural selection allowed for the adaptation of the human female to this environmental stress by reconfiguring her hormonal cycles, entraining them with the periodicity of the moon. The results, however, did much more than ensure our existence; they imbued women with the concept of time, and gave them control over sex—a power that males sought to reclaim. And the possibility of achieving immortality through heirs drove men to construct patriarchal cultures that went on to dominate so much of human history.

From the nature of courtship to the evolution of language, Shlain’s brilliant and wide-ranging exploration stimulates new thinking about very old matters.

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About the author

Leonard Shlain is the author of Art & Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time & Light, and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image. He is the chief of laparoscopic surgery at California Medical Center in San Francisco.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Aug 3, 2004
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781101200391
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Evolution
Social Science / Anthropology / Physical
Social Science / Women's Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this new fourth edition, Campbell has revised and updated his classic introduction to the field. Human Evolution synthesizes the major findings of modern research and theory and presents a complete and integrated account of the evolution of human beings. New developments in microbiology and recent fossil records are incorporated into the enormous range of this volume, with the resulting text as lucid and comprehensive as earlier editions.

The fourth edition retains the thematic structure and organization of the third, with its cogent treatment of human variability and speciation, primate locomotion, and nonverbal communication and the evolution of language, supported by more than 150 detailed illustrations and an expanded and updated glossary and bibliography. As in prior editions, the book treats evolution as a concomitant development of the main behavioral and functional complexes of the genus Homo among them motor control and locomotion, mastication and digestion, the senses and reproduction. It analyzes each complex in terms of its changing function, and continually stresses how the separate complexes evolve interdependently over the long course of the human journey.

All these aspects are placed within the context of contemporary evolutionary and genetic theory, analyses of the varied extensions of the fossil record, and contemporary primatology and comparative morphology. The result is a primary text for undergraduate and graduate courses, one that will also serve as required reading for anthropologists, biologists, and nonspecialists with an interest in human evolution.

"Synthesizes the conventional academic thought into a textbook or detailed account for lay readers. Along the chronological narrative are discussions of progress in homeostasis, the primate radiation, locomotion and the hindlimb, function and structure of the head, reproduction and social structure, and culture and society." Book News

Bernard Campbell has been a visiting lecturer at Harvard and Cambridge, and has taught and conducted research in Eastern and Southern Africa. He was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, from 1970-76. Dr. Campbell is author/coauthor of Sexual Selection and the Descent of Man; Human Ecology (second edition, Aldine); Humankind Emerging and the definitive three-volume Catalogue of Fossil Hominids.
Can an evolutionary perspective be integrated in day-to-day practice and is it of value in medical education and training? If so, when and how? Highlighting exciting areas of research into the evolutionary basis of health and disease, Medicine and Evolution: Current Applications and Future Prospects answers these questions and more. It draws on work from anthropologists, life scientists, and clinicians to provide a multidisciplinary perspective. Contributors emphasize practical applications and address how their work may inform clinical practice and medical education. They consider when evolutionary viewpoints might and might not be useful and conduct critical debates on controversial areas such as race-based pharmaceuticals.

Presenting new data and weighing relevant evidence, the book introduces novel viewpoints on nutrition, diabetes, fertility, pediatrics, immune response, and psychiatry. The book brings anthropologically sophisticated, evidence-based discussions to common beliefs such as the role decreased parasite load plays in increasing vulnerability to certain diseases, variations in human environments and human adaptability, daily protein requirements, reasons for early pregnancy loss, and optimal mother-infant sleeping arrangements, as well as fresh ideas about syndromes as diverse as delusions and polycystic ovary syndrome.

A critical assessment of evolutionary medicine and its potential to unlock the mysteries behind some of today’s most baffling chronic diseases, this book provides physicians with a more accurate view of the body and a better ability to assess health and disease.

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