Discover the Origins and Diversity of Hominids with Sapiens by Josep Corbella
Sapiens: The Long Journey of Hominids Towards Intelligence by Josep Corbella and Others
Have you ever wondered how humans became what they are today? How did we evolve from ape-like ancestors to intelligent and creative beings? How did we develop language, culture, art, religion, science, and technology? And what does the future hold for us as a species?
sapiens josep corbella pdf download
If you are curious about these questions, you might want to read Sapiens: The Long Journey of Hominids Towards Intelligence, a fascinating book that explores the origins and evolution of humans from a scientific and historical perspective. In this article, I will give you a summary, analysis, and evaluation of this book, as well as some reasons why you should read it.
What is the book about?
Sapiens: The Long Journey of Hominids Towards Intelligence is a popular science book that was published in 2000 by Ediciones Península in Spanish. It is based on a series of interviews that journalist Josep Corbella conducted with three renowned experts in human evolution: Eudald Carbonell, Salvador Moyà, and Robert Sala. The book covers four main topics: the origin of hominids, the diversity of hominids, the rise of Homo sapiens, and the future of Homo sapiens.
Who are the authors and what are their credentials?
The authors of this book are well-known researchers in their fields. Josep Corbella (Barcelona, 1966) is a journalist specialized in scientific information. He has worked for Diari de Barcelonaand La Vanguardia since 1990, where he has followed the most recent discoveries about human origins. He is also the co-author of La cocina de la salud (The Kitchen of Health), along with Ferran Adrià and Valentín Fuster, and La ciencia de la larga vida (The Science of Long Life), also with Valentín Fuster. His latest book is La maravillosa historia de tu cuerpo (The Wonderful Story of Your Body).
Eudald Carbonell (Ribes de Freser, Girona, 1953) is a professor of Prehistory at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (Tarragona), a researcher at the Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), and a co-director of the research project at the Atapuerca site. He is the author of numerous books of popularization, among which stand out Atapuerca: un millón de años de historia (Atapuerca: A Million Years of History), along with José Cervera, José María Bermúdez de Castro and Juan Luis Arsuaga, Aún no somos humanos: propuestas de humanización para el tercer milenio (We Are Not Yet Human: Proposals for Humanization for the Third Millennium), in collaboration with Robert Sala, and Los sueños de la evolución (The Dreams of Evolution), with Cinta S. Bellmunt.
Salvador Moyà (Palma de Mallorca, 1955) is a researcher at the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA) and a professor of Biological Anthropology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. He is an expert in paleontology and paleoecology, and has participated in several expeditions and excavations in Africa, Asia, and Europe. He has published more than 200 scientific articles and several books, such as Els primers pobladors de les Balears (The First Settlers of the Balearic Islands), La gran migración: la evolución humana más allá de África (The Great Migration: Human Evolution Beyond Africa), and El mono que llevamos dentro (The Monkey Within Us).
Robert Sala (Barcelona, 1958) is a professor of Prehistory at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a researcher at the IPHES. He is a specialist in lithic technology and human behavior, and has directed or participated in numerous archaeological projects in Africa, Asia, and Europe. He has published more than 150 scientific papers and several books, such as Tecnología y comportamiento humano durante el Paleolítico inferior y medio en Eurasia (Technology and Human Behavior During the Lower and Middle Paleolithic in Eurasia), La prehistoria explicada a los jóvenes (Prehistory Explained to Young People), and Aún no somos humanos: propuestas de humanización para el tercer milenio (We Are Not Yet Human: Proposals for Humanization for the Third Millennium), with Eudald Carbonell.
Why is the book relevant and interesting?
The book is relevant and interesting because it offers a comprehensive and updated overview of human evolution, based on the latest scientific evidence and theories. It also presents a multidisciplinary approach that combines biology, anthropology, archaeology, history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy. The book is not only informative, but also engaging and entertaining, as it uses a conversational style, personal pronouns, simple language, rhetorical questions, analogies, metaphors, and anecdotes to captivate the reader's attention and curiosity.
Summary of the book
Chapter 1: The origin of hominids
The evolution of primates
The first chapter of the book traces the origin of hominids back to the evolution of primates. Primates are a group of mammals that include lemurs, lorises, tarsiers, monkeys, apes, and humans. They share some common characteristics, such as grasping hands and feet, forward-facing eyes, large brains, complex social behavior, and vocal communication. The authors explain that primates originated about 65 million years ago in Africa or Asia, after the extinction of the dinosaurs. They then diversified into different branches and adapted to various environments.
The emergence of bipedalism
The authors then focus on one of the most distinctive features of hominids: bipedalism. Bipedalism is the ability to walk upright on two legs. It is a rare trait among mammals, and it has many advantages and disadvantages. The authors discuss some of the possible reasons why some primates became bipedal, such as freeing the hands for carrying objects or tools, improving the vision over tall grasses or trees, reducing the exposure to solar radiation or heat loss, or facilitating long-distance travel or endurance running. They also mention some of the anatomical changes that bipedalism entails, such as a curved spine, a bowl-shaped pelvis, a shorter and wider foot, and a larger head.
The first stone tools
goal. Tool use is a sign of intelligence and creativity, and it has many benefits for survival and adaptation. The authors describe some of the first stone tools that hominids made, such as hammerstones, cores, and flakes. They also explain how these tools were used for various purposes, such as cutting, scraping, pounding, or digging. They also mention some of the cognitive and social implications of tool use, such as planning, learning, teaching, and cooperation.
Chapter 2: The diversity of hominids
The expansion of Homo erectus
The second chapter of the book deals with the diversity of hominids that existed in the past. The authors start by introducing Homo erectus, one of the most successful and widespread hominid species. Homo erectus appeared about 1.8 million years ago in Africa, and soon expanded to Asia and Europe. They had a larger brain and body than their predecessors, and they made more sophisticated tools, such as handaxes and cleavers. They also controlled fire, hunted large animals, and lived in groups.
The coexistence of different species
The authors then explore the coexistence of different hominid species that occurred during the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). They explain that there was not a single linear evolution from one species to another, but rather a complex branching process that involved interbreeding, competition, and extinction. Some of the hominid species that coexisted with Homo erectus were Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo floresiensis, Homo naledi, and Homo luzonensis.
The extinction of Neanderthals
The authors then focus on one of the most intriguing hominid species: Neanderthals. Neanderthals were a robust and muscular species that lived in Europe and Asia from about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago. They had a larger brain than modern humans, and they made complex tools, such as Mousterian flake tools and Levallois cores. They also used fire, wore clothing, buried their dead, and possibly had language and art. The authors discuss some of the possible reasons why Neanderthals went extinct, such as climate change, competition with modern humans, or interbreeding with modern humans.
Chapter 3: The rise of Homo sapiens
The origin of modern humans
The third chapter of the book examines the origin and evolution of modern humans (Homo sapiens). The authors explain that modern humans evolved from an African population of Homo heidelbergensis about 200,000 years ago. They then migrated out of Africa in several waves starting about 100,000 years ago. They encountered and interbred with other hominid species along the way, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans. They also adapted to different environments and climates by developing physical and genetic variations.
The development of language and culture
The authors then explore the development of language and culture among modern humans. Language is a system of communication that uses symbols and rules to convey meaning. Culture is a set of shared beliefs, values, norms, customs, arts, and technologies that shape human behavior and identity. The authors argue that language and culture are what make modern humans unique among hominids. They suggest that language and culture emerged about 50,000 years ago in Africa or Eurasia as a result of a genetic mutation or a cultural innovation that triggered a cognitive revolution.
The colonization of the world
The authors then describe the colonization of the world by modern humans. They explain that modern humans reached every continent except Antarctica by about 15,000 years ago. They used boats to cross oceans and seas, such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Pacific Ocean. They also used tools and weapons to exploit different resources and habitats, such as forests or deserts. They also interacted with other animals and plants, such as domesticating dogs or cultivating crops.
Chapter 4: The future of Homo sapiens
The challenges of the Anthropocene
The fourth and final chapter of the book looks at the future of Homo sapiens. The authors argue that we are living in a new geological epoch called the Anthropocene, which is characterized by the unprecedented impact of human activities on the Earth's systems. They warn that we are facing several challenges that threaten our survival and well-being, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, overpopulation, resource depletion, social inequality, and war.
The possibilities of biotechnology and artificial intelligence
The authors then explore the possibilities of biotechnology and artificial intelligence for the future of Homo sapiens. Biotechnology is the manipulation of living organisms or their components for human purposes. Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence by machines or software. The authors speculate that these technologies could offer new opportunities for enhancing human health, longevity, cognition, and creativity. They also acknowledge that these technologies could pose new risks for ethical, social, and environmental issues.
The question of humanization
The authors then conclude the book by raising the question of humanization. Humanization is the process of becoming more human or humane. The authors suggest that this is the ultimate goal and challenge for Homo sapiens. They propose some proposals for humanization for the third millennium, such as promoting education, democracy, solidarity, diversity, and sustainability. They also invite the readers to reflect on their own role and responsibility in this process.
Analysis and evaluation of the book
The strengths of the book
The book has many strengths that make it a valuable and enjoyable read. Some of them are:
The clarity and accessibility of the language. The book uses a simple and conversational style that makes it easy to understand and follow. The book avoids jargon and technical terms, and explains them when necessary. The book also uses rhetorical questions, analogies, metaphors, and anecdotes to illustrate and clarify the concepts and arguments.
The use of illustrations and examples. The book uses a variety of illustrations and examples to support and complement the text. The book includes maps, diagrams, photographs, drawings, tables, and charts that show the geographic distribution, anatomical features, chronological sequence, cultural artifacts, and genetic relationships of different hominid species. The book also includes case studies, scenarios, experiments, and stories that demonstrate the behavior, skills, achievements, and challenges of different hominid species.
The integration of different disciplines and perspectives. The book uses a multidisciplinary approach that combines biology, anthropology, archaeology, history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy to explain human evolution. The book also uses a multiperspective approach that considers different sources of evidence, such as fossils, genes, tools, art, and language. The book also acknowledges different theories, hypotheses, debates, and controversies that exist in the field of human evolution.
The weaknesses of the book
The book also has some weaknesses that limit its scope and validity. Some of them are:
The lack of references and citations. The book does not provide any references or citations to support its claims or arguments. The book does not indicate where the information or data comes from, or who are the authors or researchers behind them. The book does not offer any bibliography or further reading for those who want to learn more about human evolution.
The simplification and speculation of some concepts and scenarios. The book sometimes simplifies or speculates about some concepts or scenarios that are complex or uncertain. The book sometimes presents some concepts or scenarios as facts or certainties, when they are actually hypotheses or possibilities. The book sometimes ignores or overlooks some factors or variables that could affect or change some concepts or scenarios.
The omission or bias of some topics and debates. The book sometimes omits or biases some topics and debates that are relevant or important for human evolution. The book sometimes focuses on some topics or debates more than others, or gives more weight or credibility to some views or arguments than others. The book sometimes excludes or marginalizes some topics or debates that challenge or contradict its main thesis or message.
In conclusion,Sapiens: The Long Journey of Hominids Towards Intelligenceis a captivating and informative book that explores the origins and evolution of humans from a scientific and historical perspective. The book offers a comprehensive and updated overview of human evolution, based on the latest scientific evidence and theories. The book also presents a multidisciplinary and multiperspective approach that combines biology, anthropology, archaeology, history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy to explain human evolution. The book is not only informative, but also engaging and entertaining, as it uses a conversational style, ouns, simple language, rhetorical questions, analogies, metaphors, and anecdotes to captivate the reader's attention and curiosity.
However, the book also has some weaknesses that limit its scope and validity. The book does not provide any references or citations to support its claims or arguments. The book sometimes simplifies or speculates about some concepts or scenarios that are complex or uncertain. The book sometimes omits or biases some topics or debates that are relevant or important for human evolution.
Nevertheless, the book is a valuable and enjoyable read for anyone who is interested in learning more about human evolution. The book is a great introduction and summary of the main topics and arguments of human evolution. The book is also a great invitation and inspiration for the readers to reflect on their own role and responsibility in the process of humanization.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. If you want to read the book yourself, you can download it as a PDF file from this link. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below. Thank you for reading!
What is the main thesis or message of the book?
The main thesis or message of the book is that human evolution is a long and complex process that involves biological, cultural, and historical factors. The book also argues that human evolution is not finished, but rather continues in the present and the future, and that humanization is the ultimate goal and challenge for Homo sapiens.
Who are the target audience of the book?
The target audience of the book are general readers who are curious about human evolution and want to learn more about it. The book is suitable for readers of all ages and backgrounds, as it uses a simple and accessible language and style. The book does not require any prior knowledge or expertise on human evolution, as it explains everything from scratch.
What are some of the main sources or influences of the book?
Some of the main sources or influences of the book are the scientific research and publications of the authors themselves, as well as other renowned experts in human evolution, such as Richard Leakey, Donald Johanson, Ian Tattersall, Chris Stringer, Svante Pääbo, Jared Diamond, Yuval Noah Harari, and others. The book also draws from other disciplines and fields, such as history, psychology, sociology, and philosophy.
What are some of the main criticisms or controversies of the book?
Some of the main criticisms or controversies of the book are related to its lack of references and citations, its simplification and speculation of some concepts and scenarios, and its omission or bias of some topics and debates. Some critics have argued that the book does not provide enough evidence or support for its claims or arguments, that it oversimplifies or overgeneralizes some aspects of human evolution, and that it ignores or marginalizes some alternative or opposing views or arguments.
What are some of the main benefits or implications of reading the book?
Some of the main benefits or implications of reading the book are related to its informative and engaging content, its multidisciplinary and multiperspective approach, and its question and inspiration for humanization. Some benefits are that the book can increase your knowledge and understanding of human evolution, that it can stimulate your curiosity and interest in human evolution, and that it can encourage you to think critically and creatively about human evolution. Some implications are that the book can challenge your assumptions and beliefs about human evolution, that it can make you aware of your role and responsibility in human evolution, and that it can motivate you to act more humanely towards yourself and others.