Tamed : Ten Species That Changed Our World
by Roberts, Alice

‘A masterpiece of evocative scientific storytelling.’ Pr ofessor Brian Cox

The extraordinary story of the species that became our allies.

For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival. They were hunter-gatherers, consummate foraging experts, taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution occurred – our ancestors’ interaction with other species changed. They began to tame them. The human population boomed; civilisation began.

In Tamed, Alice Roberts uncovers the deep history of ten familiar species with incredible wild pasts: dogs, apples and wheat; cattle, potatoes and chickens; rice, maize and horses – and, finally, humans.

She reveals how becoming part of our world changed these animals and plants, and shows how they became our allies, essential to the survival and success of our own species.

Enlightening, wide-ranging and endlessly fascinating, Tamed encompasses thousands of years of history and archaeology alongside cutting-edge genetics and anthropology. Yet it is also a deeply personal journey that changes how we see ourselves and the species on which we have left our mark.

Alice Roberts is an anthropologist, writer and broadcaster, and is currently Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham. She has presented several landmark BBC series including The Incredible Human Journey, Origins of Us, Coast andThe Celts. Her latest book on evolutionary biology, The Incredible Unlikeliness of Being, was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize in 2015.

*Starred Review* The Neolithic period is the foundation of the modern world. It was then that nine hitherto wild species became irrevocably intertwined with our own species. Anthropologist Roberts, who has written of humans (Evolution: The Human Story, 2017), now turns her attention to our most important domesticated plants and animals. Beginning with our first ally, the dog, the author entwines prehistoric archaeology, history, and genetics to tell of how these nine species became so important to us. Wolves became dogs by being friendly toward, or at least less wary of, humans. Wheat became a portable food for an increasing population, and cattle produced not only meat but a novel food: milk. Columbus brought maize from the New World to the Old, and chickens spread across the planet due to their wondrous portability and adaptability. Roberts also tells the stories of potatoes, rice, apples, and the horse, in each case, looking at the original area of domestication, the history of the species' spread, and how modern genetics are used to trace the species' origin and further modify it for modern use. The final chapter focuses on the tenth species, Homo sapiens, and how we've domesticated ourselves. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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