Monday, January 19, 2009

The Well-Dressed Ape

A Natural History of Myself, by Hannah Holmes.

Quickie Recap: Holmes attempts to describe homo sapiens the way an encyclopedia describes any other animal - where it lives, what it eats, how it reproduces, what it senses. Humans generally hold themselves above such scrutiny but Holmes is putting is back where we belong.

Quickie Review: This is a unique way at looking at ourselves and just the change in perspective alone, putting us in the context of other animals, really lets you think about how and why we are. Holmes juxtaposes human description with comparisons to other animals, so we are constantly checked and put in our evolutionary place. She is funny and thoughtful and unafraid to remind us that she too is an example of the homo sapiens, and not always a prime one at that. Her microscope allows us to more dispassionately look at our own selves and evaluate what we truly see - the fur, the tools, the adaptations.

Quickie Recommendation: Cool book, I'd say.

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