Human evolution is one of the most interesting and curiosity inducing topics ever – it tells us of our origin and journey. Indeed, it has been a long journey of about 2 million years and much has happened since. The field also allows us to answer questions about ourselves – why we are the way we are. It examines if there are long drawn causes for our seemingly commonplace and unreasonable actions, and attempts to look at out current behaviour as a result of our ancestor’s experiences, and the consequences of their actions. This is a list of best books about human evolution. These book discuss the field in an informative and enriching manner.
Best Books About Human Evolution:
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Perhaps the best loved non-fiction of our times, this book is a history of the human species from its conception to now. It not only traces evolution in an extremely informative yet interesting way but also offers answers to questions that have long plagued scientists. He discusses breakthroughs in scientific, agricultural and cognitive revolutions which have shaped mankind into where we are today.
A short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
This novel is exactly what its title says – a history of evolutionary science condensed into a few hundred pages. Bryson’s writing is such that you will never get bored of it, even though the book is jam packed with information. Believe it or not, this book is actually very humorous. From all major scientists, their life and discoveries to life before mankind and an in-depth study of molecules and atoms, this book has it all.
Genome by Matt Ridley
The very subtitle of the book says ‘The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters’ – and this is exactly what this book does. Taking a biological – genetic, to be precise – approach to evolution, this book looks at Darwin’s theories of natural selection, mate selection, gender and more. Acknowledging that much like its name, the field of evolution is itself evolutionary and dynamic, it still provides a huge range of information about the way our genes shape us. It also addresses major issues of nature versus nurture.
Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade
This book traces the origins of man and the vestiges of civilization such as language, the first African diaspora and more. Using the novel genetic science technology to answer age old questions and offering insights into areas never explored before, this book is a must read.
Last Ape Standing by Chip Walter
This book probes into homo sapiens’ 7 million year long history to excavate why exactly we survived the test of time, while our 20 odd species brethren didn’t. Thus it discusses the whys and hows of evolution in the context of our species, telling us about the unqiue and beautiful traits that have enabled us to exist today.
The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells
The subtitle of this book is ‘A Genetic Odyssey’ and that is exactly what the book entails – it is a magnificent journey of our genes through time and space. It traces our ancestral lines to one single man, and attempts to answer just why he survived over others. It also answers how we come in different shapes and sizes even though we all come from one man.
Behave by Robert Sapolsky
This book is an important landmark in evolutionary psychology and an exploration of the evolutionary bases of our behaviour, both good and bad. Using the scientific developments in neurobiology, endocrinology and culture, Sapolsky drafts a groundbreaking panacea to all questions about human behavior.
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
This is the fundamental book on evolution, by the pioneer and propounder of the ground-breaking concept of evolution. The book provides a starting point into the vast literature that is present based on scientific advances and helps to understand the concept of evolution at its root level. This book talks about ecological interrelatedness through Darwin’s theory of natural selection. This book is the consolidation of the genius minded Darwin’s lifetime of research and knowledge.