I bought the book, thanks. I really liked the other book recommendations. I've read a bunch of those, and I'm now looking forward to reading "The World Before Us". My main reason for writing is to talk about "The Goodness Paradox". This book, more than any other I can think of, changed how I think about human evolution. As you hint at, there seem to be many possible implications (spandrels) of our self domestication that Wrangham doesn't follow up on. Neoteny (staying childlike) and the scrambling of our sexuality, might both be downstream of domestication.

And finally I thought I'd offer you (or maybe your husband) a book that you perhaps have not read. "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander. Lots of ideas in this book are things I sorta knew, but having them fleshed out by someone who had thought about them more was useful. How we build and interact with our living spaces... it's great and I'm sure you'll love the parts about children's spaces. (I added a window seat a few years ago and all the pets and humans in the house love it.)

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I'm not sure if we own a copy of "A Pattern Language" but it's absolutely our kind of book! It might make good middle-of-the-night baby reading; the challenge is always to find something that's interesting enough to keep you awake but easy to put down when you get to go back to bed.

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I know this is an old thread, but any chance you still have gift subscriptions to unsupervised learning? I love the free posts I have read over there.

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Alas no! But if you can swing it, Razib is great.

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Oooh, can I look at your copy of

Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins, when you eventually try out my bike? And I don’t know if you’ve read Margalit Fox’s The Riddle of the Labyrinth (on cracking Linear B) but I bet you’d love it: https://amzn.to/3UHIAsN

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Interesting read. Thx

I have some personal experience on some of the things you wrote about, so here’s my piece for what’s worth it might be:

As someone from Africa, and someone that lived in various regions and in and out of cities, I have no doubt how Neanderthals lived.

Even for people that have been exposed to relative modern practices, medicines and health practices , you might be surprised to learn that millions on that continent still do not boil their water (even with an abundance of wood etc)

So yeah, the rest applies how they not keep protein sources from being infected with flu larvae etc. Shelter building is reduced to wood/grass huts where mud mixed with grass/straw makes a way more enduring water/wind/element proof structure. Allas..... So, I guess if you want to know how the Neanderthal lived..... You can have a good upgrade to your point of reference when you join one of these tribes for a year or two.

However, one thing for sure! They do not hold to the belief that their ancestors were what you believe em to be.

In fact, they take exception to that thinking.

Lastly, I was of the understanding that It was agreed that Lucy was more ape than what was originally thought!

So that makes me question the dates & timelines of a lot of other incidences you wrote about.

As for those people who built a wall with stalagmites etc and made fires on it and around it, was to keep predators away and at bay. Everyone who ever slept on the grasslands and open Savanna’s know that the only thing that keeps a hyaena or leopard from dragging you off in the dead of night is to surround yourself with fires! Big ones!

Just saying!

But an interesting read never the less.

Ps. Very interesting how you ended your piece. It exposed a definite bias to your belief system, yet, you speak of someone who definitely didn’t believe what you do as if it’s settled science that people from the Biblical times believed in the evolution theory, where they had written records of their ancestry disagreeing with it, and thoroughly understood that praying for the dead is a useless and forbade practice, yet you recommend it.

Don’t really know what to make of that. It sort of places everything you wrote in a questionable category. But that’s just me. Others might not even pick up on this.


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