The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease (英語) ペーパーバック – 2014/10/2
Kindle 端末は必要ありません。無料 Kindle アプリのいずれかをダウンロードすると、スマートフォン、タブレットPCで Kindle 本をお読みいただけます。
In The Story of the Human Body, Daniel Lieberman, Professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard, shows how we need to change our world to fit our hunter-gatherer bodies
This ground-breaking book of popular science explores how the way we use our bodies is all wrong. From an evolutionary perspective, if normal is defined as what most people have done for millions of years, then it's normal to walk and run 9 -15 kilometres a day to hunt and gather fresh food which is high in fibre, low in sugar, and barely processed. It's also normal to spend much of your time nursing, napping, making stone tools, and gossiping with a small band of people.
Our 21st-century lifestyles, argues Daniel Lieberman, are out of synch with our stone-age bodies. Never have we been so healthy and long-lived - but never, too, have we been so prone to a slew of problems that were, until recently, rare or unknown, from asthma, to diabetes, to - scariest of all - overpopulation.
The Story of the Human Body asks how our bodies got to be the way they are, and considers how that evolutionary history - both ancient and recent - can help us evaluate how we use our bodies. How is the present-day state of the human body related to the past? And what is the human body's future?
'Monumental. The Story of the Human Body, by one of our leading experts, takes us on an epic voyage' - Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
'Riveting, enlightening, and more than a little frightening' - Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run
Daniel Lieberman is the Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and a leader in the field. He has written nearly 100 articles, many appearing in the journals Nature and Science, and his cover story on barefoot running in Nature was picked up by major media the world over. His research and discoveries have been highlighted in newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, Discover, and National Geographic.
Monumental. The Story of the Human Body, by one of our leading experts, takes us on an epic voyage that reveals how the past six million years shaped every part of us - our heads, limbs, and even our metabolism. Through Lieberman's eyes, evolutionary history not only comes alive, it also becomes the means to understand, and ultimately influence, our body's future (Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish)
No one understands the human body like Daniel Lieberman or tells its story more eloquently. He's found a tale inside our skin that's riveting, enlightening, and more than a little frightening (Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run)
Starting millions of years ago with the rise of our likely progenitor genus, the australopithecines, Lieberman walks us through the accumulated adaptations that led to us, including habitual bipedalism and changes in diet. While it might seem a bit academic for a reader who is solely interested in "human" health, he deftly keeps the material from becoming too dense and succeeds in tying this seeming distraction to our current plight through an analysis of energy intake and expenditure. The story that Lieberman tells of our body is one of mostly slow progression, a tweak here and there over a vast span of time, to shape our bodies for endurance and to withstand hardship.
At its core, however, the book is a cultural critique, and evolution is the vehicle in which its delivered. With the advent of agriculture and subsequent industrialization millennia later, humans have too effectively altered their environments to suit their desires (which do not necessarily match our needs). Our food is too soft and bereft of nutrition due to ever-"improving" production processes. We possess and make use of too many gadgets that handle too much of our workloads. Our medical practices spend too much time fighting symptoms instead of making use of our evolutionary knowledge to prevent mismatches, diseases and ailments that stem from this "dysevolution".
Lieberman makes an argument that is difficult to find fault with, but he also pragmatically addresses the fact that we are far past the point of return in regard to overall social organization. We cannot return to a life of hunting and gathering; there are simply too many of us now. Our artificial inflation of the planet's carrying capacity has necessitated that we continue in this vein. Instead, at the end of the book he proposes a kind of "soft paternalism", or the use of authoritative influence to tailor the choices of adults much as a diligent parent does for their child. While this proposal might draw the ire of people of certain political backgrounds who would decry the formation of a "nanny state", I would argue that, in the light of our evolutionary history, this type of reciprocal encouragement (healthier people make for a healthier society) fits like a glove on our unusually adapted hands.
The second part presents an interesting and credible paradigm, interesting facts and sound proposals for personal and public health. However, perhaps because I am more familiar with the science and though the author is careful to insert caveats, I would say currently available evidence is sometimes stretched to fit a paradigm, and I had to say a couple of times: oh, no, not Rousseau again. I am aware that pygmies - among other partial hunter-gatherers - have lifestyles which is difficult not to admire. But, not being an anthropologist, the author made me wonder if disturbing facts about the lives of hunter-gatherers have been omitted. As for the prescriptions, in fact, I agree with the author and enthusiastically endorse some of his ideas; yet, my wife's comment that the second part could easily turn into a more sensible "China study", with a cadre of adept followers, is not off the mark. There is this bit of a crusading tone in this second part which convinced me to give it 4 stars only. Also worth reading but with one or two grains of salt.