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October 26 , 2008

Evolutionary History

Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth


We tend to see history and evolution springing from separate roots, one grounded in the human world and the other in the natural world. Human beings have, however, become probably the most powerful species shaping evolution today, and human-caused evolution in other species has probably been the most important force shaping human history. This book introduces readers to evolutionary history, a new field that unites history and biology to create a fuller understanding of the past than either can produce on its own. Evolutionary history can stimulate surprising new hypotheses for any field of history and evolutionary biology. How many art historians would have guessed that sculpture encouraged the evolution of tuskless elephants? How many biologists would have predicted that human poverty would accelerate animal evolution? How many military historians would have suspected that plant evolution would convert a counter-insurgency strategy into a rebel subsidy? With examples from around the globe, this book will help readers see the broadest patterns of history and the details of their own life in a new light.

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