Science Nonfiction

‘Humanimal’ Review: Genetics & the Human Condition

Humanimal is an examination of what it means to be human from a genetic and biological standpoint, and how our definers mirror those of what we consider ‘animals.’ Rutherford presents a well-researched guide to humanity – from our bodies to our behaviors to our cultures. Human history is a long, drawn out story and Humanimal makes it fascinating.


By Adam Rutherford
The Experiment

You’ll learn a lot about the ways different animals match human behaviors and genetic makeup. How do animal brains compare to human brains? How does sexuality manifest in animals as compared to humans? Does the usage of tools actually work as an indicator of human intellect, given the fact that so many animals have created crude tools of their own? The similarities are surprising at times, showing how much we truly are a part of the world. It’s easy to imagine humanity as vastly different from the other living things around us but, behavior-wise, we’re quite similar.

Most interesting is the sub-section regarding human speech. This is a book that gives us the root information and continues with further details until you feel pretty knowledgable about most parts of the human condition. The author examines the parts of our DNA that make it possible for us to speak before diving into how language has evolved over time and, further, how the meaning of words have evolved. It’s a fascinating progression that says a lot about our history and its sheer length of time.

Above all, expect Humanimal to teach you a bevy of things you didn’t know about the world and its inhabitants. You’d be surprised at how entertaining genetics can be when illustrated by a talented author. This is an easy-to-read guide that entertains, surprises, and enlightens.

NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

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