Related to: 'A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived'

Orion

The Book of Humans

Adam Rutherford
Authors:
Adam Rutherford

We like to think of ourselves as exceptional beings, but are we really any more special than other animals? Humans are the slightest of twigs on a single family tree that encompasses four billion years, a lot of twists and turns, and a billion species. All of those organisms are rooted in a single origin, with a common code that underwrites our existence. This paradox - that our biology is indistinct from all life, yet we consider ourselves to be special - lies at the heart of who we are.In this original and entertaining tour of life on Earth, Adam Rutherford explores how many of the things once considered to be exclusively human are not: we are not the only species that communicates, makes tools, utilises fire, or has sex for reasons other than to make new versions of ourselves. Evolution has, however, allowed us to develop our culture to a level of complexity that outstrips any other observed in nature.THE BOOK OF HUMANS tells the story of how we became the creatures we are today, bestowed with the unique ability to investigate what makes us who we are. Illuminated by the latest scientific discoveries, it is a thrilling compendium of what unequivocally fixes us as animals, and reveals how we are extraordinary among them.With illustrations by Alice Roberts

Adam Rutherford

Dr Adam Rutherford is a science writer and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. He has written and presented many award-winning series and programmes for the BBC, including the flagship weekly Radio 4 programme INSIDE SCIENCE and THE CURIOUS CASES OF RUTHERFORD & FRY with Dr Hannah Fry. He is the author of two previous books, CREATION, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Prize, and A BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYONE WHO EVER LIVED.

Alex Renton

Alex Renton is an award-winning journalist whose career has ranged from theatre criticism to food writing to the investigation of child abuse, and as war reporter in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He was educated at Ashdown House and Eton, and lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two children.

Ben Chu

Ben Chu is the Economics Editor of the INDEPENDENT. He was born and brought up in Manchester, and studied Modern History at Jesus College, Oxford.

Bryan Appleyard

Born in 1951, Bryan Appleyard attended King's College, Cambridge. He was Financial News Editor and Deputy Arts Editor at THE TIMES from 1976 to 1984. He writes for numerous publications including VANITY FAIR, THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE SPECTATOR and THE SUNDAY TIMES, where he is a special feature writer, commentator, reviewer and columnist.

Chris McManus

Chris McManus is Professor of Psychology and Medical Education at University College, London. He is the author of the leading textbook PSYCHOLOGY IN MEDICINE and is the co-editor of THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OF PSYCHOLOGY, HEALTH AND MEDICINE. He is one of the world's foremost experts on handedness and lateralization.

Daniel Hillis

Daniel Hillis is one of the world's hottest computer scientists. He was co-founder and chief scientist of the Thinking Machines Corporation and principal architect of the company's major product, the Connection Machine. He is an Editor of several scientific journals, including Artificial Life and Future Generation Computer Systems and is currently Vice President and Disney Fellow at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Dr Carin Bondar

Canadian Carin Bondar has a PhD in biology from the University of British Columbia. She is host of several TV series including WORLDS ODDEST ANIMAL COUPLES (Animal Planet, Netflix), STEPHEN HAWKING'S BRAVE NEW WORLD (Discovery World HD, National Geographic) and OUTRAGEOUS ACTS OF SCIENCE (The Science Channel). She is writer and host of the online series WILD SEX (Earth Touch, Seeker), which has garnered over 100,000,000 views. Her new online series, WILD MOMS (Seeker) premiered for Mother's day 2018. Bondar is author of THE NATURE OF SEX (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) and WILD MOMS. She is also an adventurer and expedition leader, and has spoken to audiences in 15 different countries. Her research group (Taxon expeditions) recently garnered global attention for naming a beetle after actor and environmentalist Leonardo Dicaprio. Bondar resides in Chilliwack, British Columbia. www.carinbondar.com

Emilia Fox

Emilia Fox appeared in the BBC's PRIDE AND PRJUDICE whilst still at university, and has gone on to star in REBECCA, DAVID COPPERFIELD, BBC's 2009 MERLIN series and in 2012 starred as Lady Portia Alresford in UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS. She also reads regularly on Radio 4 and has taken over the role as Dr Nikki Alexander in the TV series SILENT WITNESS. Emilia has read numerous audiobooks including the MAGICAL CHILDREN series, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE by Alan Bradley and SECRETS OF THE TIDES by Hannah Richell for Orion.

Ernst Mayr

Ernst Mayr was born in Germany, in 1904. He was one of the main architects of the modern synthesis of genetic and evolutionary theory whose career spanned fields as diverse as ornithology, systematics, zoo-geography, evolutionary theory, and the philosophy and history of science. He wrote thirteen and published more than 700 scientific papers.

Fiona Shaw

Fiona Shaw is an Irish actress and theatre director. She is best known for her aclaimed theatre roles but to International audiences she is probably most familiar for her role as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter films and in 2011 for her role as Marnie Stonebrook in the True Blood series. Fiona was awarded an honorary CBE in 2001 for her services to drama and she has of course read numerous audiobooks including Dr. Johnson's London by Liza Picard, for Orion.

Gavin G. Smith

Gavin G. Smith is the Dundee-born author of the hard edged, action-packed SF novels Veteran, War in Heaven, Age of Scorpio, A Quantum Mythology and The Beauty of Destruction, as well as the short story collection Crysis: Escalation. He has collaborated with Stephen Deas as the composite personality Gavin Deas and co-written Elite: Wanted, and the shared world series Empires: Infiltration and Empires: Extraction.

Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh was one of Britain's foremost brain surgeons, and worked as Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St George's Hospital in London for thirty years. Since retiring from full-time work in the NHS, he has continued to operate and lecture abroad, in Nepal, Albania and Ukraine. He has been the subject of two award-winning documentary films, YOUR LIFE IN THEIR HANDS and THE ENGLISH SURGEON. He is the author of two memoirs, the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling DO NO HARM and ADMISSIONS. He was made a CBE in 2010.

Jared Diamond

Jared Diamond is Professor of Physiology at the Medical School of the University of California, Los Angeles. Trained in phsyiology, he later took up the study of ecology and has made fundamental contributions to both disciplines. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee (which won the British Science Book Prize in 1992) and Guns, Germs and Steel: A Short History of Everybody for the last 13,000 Years, also a winner in 1998.

John Gribbin

John Gribbin (1946 - )John Gribbin is a British science writer, astrophysicist and visiting fellow in astronomy at the University of Sussex, where he graduated with a BA in physics in 1966 and did his master of science (MSc) in 1967. He earned his PhD in astrophysics from the University of Cambridge in 1971. Author of the well-known In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality (1984), Gribbin's work as a scientist is often reflected in his writing which covers a wide range of topics, such as quantum physics, human evolution, the origins of the universe, climate change and global warming.

Keith Payne

Keith Payne is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an international leader in the psychology of inequality and discrimination, his research has been featured in THE ATLANTIC, THE NEW YORK TIMES and on NPR, and he has written for SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and PSYCHOLOGY TODAY.

L. J. Ganser

L.J. Ganser has narrated over 300 books which have taken him figuratively under, over, around and out of this world, soaring into the future and plunging into the past. L.J. has won an Audie award from the APA, the Scourby award from AFB and many earphone awards from Audiofile magazine.

Lee Smolin

Lee Smolin is Professor of Physics at the Center for Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University. He is a leading contributor to the search of a unification of quantum theory, cosmology and relativity.

Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown (1959 - )Marcus Chown graduated from the University of London in 1980 with a first class degree in physics. He also earned a Master of Science in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology. Currently the cosmology consultant for New Scientist magazine, Chown has co-authored two hard SF novels with John Gribbin: Double Planet and its remote sequel Reunion.

Nathan H. Lents

Nathan H. Lents is a professor of biology at John Jay College at The City University of New York. He is the author of NOT SO DIFFERENT and HUMAN ERRORS.