We are unable to display your institutional affiliation without JavaScript turned on.
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Find using OpenURL

Buy This Issue

The Biological Basis of Human History

Well-known physiological peculiarities of human bodies had much to do with raising our ancestors to the top of the food chain: erect posture, binocular vision, an unusually efficient cooling system, and an omnivorous diet. But these capabilities pale beside the advantages that accrued to proto-humans and then to humans from expanding and more precise modes of communication: first dance, then language. Still later, transportation and communication transcended limits set by human muscles with the invention of wind-propelled flotation and animal caravans, while writing overcame limits of personal memory and face-to-face dissemination of information. Contacts across local social and cultural boundaries tended to propagate best practices, making humankind a uniquely dangerous, constantly changing parasite upon other forms of life.

You must be logged in through an institution that subscribes to this journal or book to access the full text.


Shibboleth authentication is only available to registered institutions.

Project MUSE

For subscribing associations only.