What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee

What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee

Apes, People, and Their Genes

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
Focusing on the remarkable similarity between chimp and human DNA, the author explores the role of molecular genetics, anthropology, and biology, and psychology in the human-ape relationship.

University of California Press
"In this clever, entertaining, and thoughtful book, Marks lays out some important limitations of science in general and genetics in particular. Using terms that everybody can understand, he demolishes the pretensions of scientists who try to use genetics to answer questions about the kinship of nations, the rights of animals, the racial identity of Kennewick Man, the hereditary Jewish priesthood, and the existence of God. Marks has a lot of fun with all this-and so will his readers."--Matt Cartmill, author of A View to Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature through History

"What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee covers a range of contemporary issues that are likely to be with us for a long time to come. No book written by a geneticist comes anywhere close."--Jon Beckwith, Research Professor, American Cancer Society, Harvard Medical School, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

"This witty book takes on perhaps the most fundamental biological, political, cultural, and epistemological question: How do we know what is similar to what, and when does it matter? Yet I hardly minded being dispossessed of a tale or two, left with a much better account of human genetic history and diversity, the triviality of too much that passes for science, and the important task of crafting a biological anthropology that takes both parts of its name seriously."--Donna Haraway, author of Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science

"Marks provides an informed and powerful critique of reductionist claims about genetics as an explanation of human behavior, cognitive abilities, and racial differences. His colorful examples range from the common ancestry of humans with daffodils and our similarities with fruit flies. A great book!"--Dorothy Nelkin, coauthor of The DNA Mystique: The Gene as a Cultural Icon

"Marks's superb teaching, lively wit, razor-sharp logic, and impeccable scientific insight come together in this book. While controversial, this narrative also proves that science and humanism can and must (if we are to navigate the unsettling future that biotech promises) mix."--Gina Maranto, Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Humans

"A compulsively readable, erudite, and intensely personal view of our biology and our place in nature. Marks unhesitatingly plunges into the morass of human cultural, genetic, and political diversities, and in the process produces much for all of us to ponder."--Ian Tattersall, author of Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness

"There is no book just like this one. It will open further a needed debate on quality of scientific argumentation and the inherent politics of human science."--Alan H. Goodman, coeditor of Building a New Biocultural Synthesis: Political-Economic Perspectives on Human Biology

"This book is timely, engaging, authoritative, and provocative."--Kenneth Korey, Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

The overwhelming similarity of human and ape genes is one of the best-known facts of modern genetic science. But what does this similarity mean? Does it, as many have suggested, have profound implications for understanding human nature? Well-known molecular anthropologist Jonathan Marks uses the human-versus-ape controversy as a jumping-off point for a radical reassessment of a range of provocative issues—from the role of science in society to racism, animal rights, and cloning. Full of interesting facts, fascinating personalities, and vivid examples that capture times and places, this work explains and demystifies human genetic science—showing ultimately how it has always been subject to social and political influences and teaching us how to think critically about its modern findings.

Marks presents the field of molecular anthropology—a synthesis of the holistic approach of anthropology with the reductive approach of molecular genetics--as a way of improving our understanding of the science of human evolution. As he explores the intellectual terrain of this field, he lays out its broad areas of interest with issues ranging from the differences between apes and humans to the biological and behavioral variations expressed in humans as a species. Marks confronts head-on the problems of racial classification in science. He describes current theories about race and uses work in primatology, comparative anatomy, and molecular anthropology to debunk them. He also sheds new light on the controversial Great Ape Project, the Human Genome Diversity Project, and much more. This iconoclastic, witty, and extremely readable book illuminates the deep background of human variation and asks us to reconsider the role of science in modern society.

& Taylor

Focusing on the remarkable similarity between chimp and human DNA, the author explores the role of molecular genetics, anthropology, biology, and psychology in the human-ape relationship.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2002
ISBN: 9780520226159
Characteristics: xiii, 312 p. : ill. ; 24 cm


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