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The Third Chimpanzee

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The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal is a 1991 book by academic and popular science author Jared Diamond, in which the author explores concepts relating to the animal origins of human behavior. The book follows a series of articles published by Diamond, a physiologist, examining the evidence and its interpretation in earlier treatments of the related species, including cultural characteristics or features often regarded as particularly unique to humans. Diamond further explores the question of how Homo sapiens came to dominate its closest relatives, such as chimpanzees, and why one group of humans (Eurasians) came to dominate others (indigenous peoples of the Americas, for example). In answering these questions, Diamond (a professor in the fields of physiology and geography) applies a variety of biological and anthropological arguments to reject traditional hegemonic views that the dominant peoples came from "superior" genetic stock and argues instead that those peoples who came to dominate others did so because of advantages found in their local environment which allowed them to develop larger populations, wider immunities to disease, and superior technologies for agriculture and warfare. The Third Chimpanzee also examines how asymmetry in male and female mating behaviour is resolved through differing social structures across cultures, and how first contact between unequal civilizations almost always results in genocide. The book ends by noting that technological progress may cause environmental degradation on a scale leading to extinction. The original title of the book in its initial 1991 publication was The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: How Our Animal Heritage Affects the Way We Live; the current title was adopted with the third edition in 2006. In between, the second edition of 2004 was titled The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee: Evolution and Human Life. In 2014, Diamond published an adapted version for young people with Seven Stories Press titled, The Third Chimpanzee for Young People.
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original title: The Third Chimpanzee
subtitle: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
date of publication: 1992
genre: essay
main subject: human evolution, anthropology
followed by: Why Is Sex Fun?

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