Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

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Allen Lane, 2010 - Agriculture - 230 pages
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10,000 years ago, humans made a decision to change our relationship with nature: instead of hunting and gathering, we developed agriculture. In this groundbreaking new book, Spencer Wells reveals that this seemingly simple transition set in motion the most significant changes in the history of humanity, the unforeseen costs of which we are living with now.

Wells takes us back to that moment that changed human history forever to trace the origins of some of the most important problems in our world today. From global terrorism and climate change to swine flu, AIDS and obesity, the root causes lie in the biological implications of agriculture. Wells shows how humanity's move away from hunting and gathering has impacted on our bodies, our society and our planet and asks: is there a fatal mismatch between western culture and our biology that is making us ill, both mentally and physically?

Only through rediscovering humanity's needs and questioning the cultural progression we have achieved as a species, can we hope to understand what it means to be human in the modern world.

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About the author (2010)


Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Frank H. T. Rhodes Class of '56 Professor at Cornell University. He leads the Genographic Project, which is collecting and analyzing hundreds of thousands of DNA samples from people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet. Wells received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has written two books, The Journey of Man and Deep Ancestry. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, a documentary filmmaker.

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