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The Third Chimpanzee

On the evolution and future of the human animal

Jared Diamond

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The Third Chimpanzee

The Third Chimpanzee Summary

Hi, welcome to Bookey. Today we’ll unlock the book ‘The Third Chimpanzee’.

As we all know, there are different races of people in the world; For example, White, Black, and Asian. However, do you know that this kind of classification is not meaningful in terms of taxonomy? This is because between different species there is reproductive isolation, however between people of different races such reproductive boundaries do not exist. People of all skin colors can intermarry and give birth to fertile offspring. As such, “race” is a concept used colloquially. In fact, all living human beings in the world belong to the same species, that is, Homo sapiens. This name comes from the Latin term for “wise man."

Why is the human species called Homo Sapiens? This is because many believe that superior intelligence was the primary reason why our ancestors were able to outsmart other species in the course of evolution. From the moment our ancestors diverged from the evolutionary path of the chimpanzees seven million years ago, we have developed a skill far more significant than physical strength. Previously, the claws of a lion, the horns of a rhino, the power of an elephant, and all animals capable of brute force, were able to overpower our ancestors. However, in the end, they were all defeated by our intelligence.

There is little doubt whether or not humans are different from animals. However, modern genetics has questioned the extent of these boundaries between humans and animals. Humans differ from chimps of both species in only 1.6 percent of their genetic makeup. On the other hand, the genetic difference between the two species of chimps and monkeys is as wide as 7 percent. If alien scientists were to come to visit us from outer space, they would not hesitate to categorize humans as a third type of chimpanzee. Why does just 1.6 percent of a genetic difference cause us to be so different? ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ attempts to provide a systematic answer to this question.

According to Jared Diamond, it is the unique physiological structure and cultural characteristics of Homo sapiens that have allowed us to conquer the world. Our evolutionary traits are hidden in our languages, art, agriculture, and even in our self-destructive behavior, like smoking and alcoholism. All these seemingly unrelated aspects get strung together in this book, and the invisible line of evolution gradually appears. In ‘The Third Chimpanzee’, Diamond presents us with the great chain of cause and effect through his insightful arguments.

Diamond is a professor of physiology at UCLA Medical School. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a Pulitzer Prize winner. He expanded on some of the theories in ‘The Third Chimpanzee’, and later wrote his renowned work ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’, as well as ‘Collapse’. These three books are collectively referred to as the "Trilogy of Human History."

We will now unlock ‘The Third Chimpanzee’ in three parts.

Part one: the evolution of modern humans. We’ll talk about how Homo sapiens evolved.

Part two: a unique lifestyle. In this part, we'll talk about our distinct social organization and sexuality.

Part three: humans as the most dominant species on the planet. In this part, we'll take a look at the great contributions of human beings which distinguish us from other animal species.

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