Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History

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en Limba Engleză Carte Hardback – 14 Feb 2017
Eating one s own kind is completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Throughout history we have engaged in cannibalism for reasons related to famine, burial rites, and medicine. Cannibalism has also been used as a form of terrorism and as the ultimate expression of filial piety. With unexpected wit and a wealth of knowledge, Bill Schutt, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History, takes us on a tour of the field, exploring exciting new avenues of research and investigating questions like why so many fish eat their offspring and some amphibians consume their mother s skin; why sexual cannibalism is an evolutionary advantage for certain spiders; why, until the end of the eighteenth century, British royalty regularly ate human body parts; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of Neanderthals.

Today, the subject of humans consuming one another has been relegated to the realm of horror movies, fiction, and the occasional psychopath. But as climate change progresses and humans see more famine, disease, and overcrowding, biological and cultural constraints may well disappear. These are the very factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism--in other species and our own.

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ISBN-13: 9781616204624
ISBN-10: 1616204621
Pagini: 352
Greutate: 0.54 kg
Editura: Algonquin Books

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"A clear-headed, sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic--and always fascinating--compendium of one of Western culture's strongest taboos."*

Until just recently, cannibalism was considered rare and abnormal in both humans and other animals. Now zoologist Bill Schutt surveys the latest research and delves into biology and anthropology, as well as history, literature, mythology, and pop culture, to bring us the first full-scale work on what science has come to recognize as completely natural behavior.

"Butterflies do it. So do some toads, birds, and polar bears. Did dinosaurs do it? What about the Neanderthals? And what about us, for that matter? If you're hungry for a fun, absorbing read about which animals eat their own kind and why, read this book." --Virginia Morell, New York Times bestselling author of Animal Wise: How We Know Animals Think and Feel

"A deliciously entertaining smorgasbord of scientific reality. Schutt gives us a deeper insight into the way nature really works." --Darrin Lunde, Museum Specialist, Smithsonian Institution, and author of The Naturalist

"From the Australian redback spider to the Donner Party, Schutt examines the evolutionary purposes that eating one's own can serve.But he goes beyond scientific explanation to show how deeply cannibalism is woven into our own history and literature." --*Cat Warren, New York Times bestselling author of What the Dog Knows

"Schutt's well researched and suspenseful work is a must read." --Publishers Weekly, starred review