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He has a natural flair for drama and tension. Dunn moves through the answer to these and other questions with a sure use of language, scientific research, and humor-all of which combined keep the reader highly engaged. Dunn is a thorough and talented writer. With clarity and charm the author takes the reader into the overlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an important domain of the human condition.

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What kind of books do you like to read? Scene of the Crime mystery fans. Why we sometimes need worms and whether or not you should rewild your gut. When good bodies go bad and why ; The pronghorn principle and what our guts flee ; The dirty realities of what to do when you are sick and missing your worms pt.


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What your appendix does and how it has changed. Several things the gut knows and the brain ignores ; I need my appendix and so do my bacteria pt. How we tried to tame cows and crops but instead they tamed us, and why it made some of us fat. When cows and grass domesticated humans ; So who cares if your ancestors sucked milk from aurochsen?

How predators left us scared, pathos-ridden and covered in goosebumps. We were hunted, which is why all of us are afraid some of the time and some of us are afraid all of the time ; From flight to fight ; Vermeij's law of evolutionary consequences and how snakes made the world ; Choosing who lives pt. The pathogens that left us hairless and xenophobic. How lice and ticks and their pathogens made us naked and gave us skin cancer ; How the pathogens that made us naked also made us xenophobic, collectivist, and disgusted pt.

The future of human nature. The reluctant revolutionary of hope.

Second thing I learned that I should have known: Third thing I learned: All in all this book is informative and interesting. It is however, extremely adapted to the non-scientific reader, repeating things often and explaining things I don't need explained. The author also names a scientist afraid of snake although he lives in "snakeless Sweden".

The Wild Life of Our Bodies - Rob Dunn - Paperback

In which case Sweden is not snakeless, it has at least two species I know of. If it qualifies as "no known lethal snakes" so be it, Sweden is snakeless. This makes me think the dear Mr. Dunn might be wrong about other things, but I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt. All in all this is a quite intertaining and highly informative book well worth reading.

No need to worry about scientific jargon, that's for sure! All will be explained, whether you like it or not. Apr 16, gabrielle rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This book is, in essence, about what it means to be human: I am going to buy it next time I'm at Powell's, and I'm a die-hard library user. I'm recommending it to pretty much everyone This book is, in essence, about what it means to be human: I'm recommending it to pretty much everyone.

There are lots of amazing new ideas here, and new research for those of you that don't keep up with the latest like, our appendix actually has a purpose! I love Dunn's writing style. He roams seemingly all over, and you're like "dude where are you going with this" but he brings the topics neatly back to his original point, so you don't feel lost for long.

I picture him teaching, scrawling all over every available whiteboard, and drawing arrows back to previous topics with an "and so! I also thing it'd be great to go out to the pub with him and listen to some of these stories. Similar to the New Germ theory of disease in many aspects, the book argues not only that there are many diseases caused by either pathogens, or the lack of them, but that many other aspects of humanity, such as colour vision and xenophobia were fixed in us because of predators or pathogens.

Often, he makes a good case, but there is a tendency to jump on any crank suggestion and shout "ooh, this could be true, we should sow it is wrong before dismissing it", which might be technically true, but i Similar to the New Germ theory of disease in many aspects, the book argues not only that there are many diseases caused by either pathogens, or the lack of them, but that many other aspects of humanity, such as colour vision and xenophobia were fixed in us because of predators or pathogens.

Often, he makes a good case, but there is a tendency to jump on any crank suggestion and shout "ooh, this could be true, we should sow it is wrong before dismissing it", which might be technically true, but in reality there are so many possible crank explanations of everything, that it is on the proponents to gather the evidence in favour. Another issue I had was his pushing of a viral cause for cancer.

This is well known in some epithelial cancers, such as those caused by HPV, but in most others, the evidence is limited at best, but he made it sound as though it was extremely strong and it is only scientists, showing the same reticence to new ideas that they did when the viral cause theory was. In reality, though it was ignored for a time, it later became a major field of study, but people just did not find it then, and it was dropped.

Oct 25, Eric Rasmussen rated it it was ok. This book had a few "wow" moments, where I had to get up and tell my wife and family about the amazing insights delivered in this book. Those moments are what keep me coming back to nonfiction, what I live for in reading. Unfortunately, the few wow moments parasites and autoimmune disease were more than overbalanced by the shakier theories loss of predators and modern anxiety issues? While all of that may be exc This book had a few "wow" moments, where I had to get up and tell my wife and family about the amazing insights delivered in this book.

While all of that may be excusable, the author's attempts to add drama were nerve-grating - another reviewer likened the tone to a cable-channel documentary, and that's exactly what this book is, replete with the repetition and an overdramatic narrator - you can almost here the over-the-top orchestral soundtrack that accompanies everything on the History channel.

For a casual reader, a great read. For those more familiar with the genre, there may be better options.

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Nov 02, Harry Lane rated it it was amazing. Dunn's premise is that we have shaped evolution as much as evolution has shaped us, and not always to our advantage. His argument is fairly strong, and his conclusions well worth consideration. But it is something implicit in his presentation that I think is equally important: Apr 16, Philip Taylor rated it liked it Shelves: Fascinating and, at least occasionally, exciting.

We appear to need bacteria and certain parasites. However, as with many popular science books, I can't help thinking that I am not getting the full story and that statistics are being suspiciously used to lead me to a certain conclusion. That's what happens when you are ignorant of many things, you get suspicious that someone is deliberately obfuscating the topic for you.

Feb 18, Danielle rated it it was ok Shelves: The point of view was very one-sided. For a much more objective and better written book on the subject, read An Epidemic of Absence by Moises Velasquez-Manoff. Aug 01, David Brooke rated it really liked it. Very informative and interesting. Sadly it ends not very strong, but at that point I was in full agreement so maybe i was disappointed i wasn't won over. Dec 09, Bernie Gourley rated it really liked it Shelves: As the subtitle suggests, this book is about the role that other species have played in human evolution and the way we look, behave, and think today.

The book is popular science--approachable to a layman but with the usual disdain for gratuitous assertions and shoddy reasoning that define the scientific though process. That being said, Dunn does put some editorial opinion out there in ways that might appear as fact in a slipshod reading. I doubt this would strike a majority of impartial scientists as a fair and unbiased way to define humanity. Granted, this point not what The Wild Life of Our Bodies is about, and whether one thinks this it is fair or not is not critical to whether one will find the book to be of value.

However, the idea and the fact that humans have zealously killed off other creatures is certainly relevant to the discussion at hand. All the time humans were trying to make ourselves more comfortable by getting rid of inconvenient species, we remained ignorant to the downside. Dunn covers a broad range of mismatches between who we are evolutionarily and how we live in the modern world. The Wild Life of Our Bodies suggests that, like the pronghorn antelope, humans are in many cases over-designed because of the loss of species parasites, predators, symbiotes, etc.

One question that once puzzled biologists was why pronghorns were so much faster than every species they faced. In our case, we had guts that were supremely adapted to having parasites, but the lightning fast on an evolutionary timescale elimination of those parasites has left us with bodies that attack a non-existent enemy and this has resulted in a number of new diseases. We are used to diseases that succeed in the poorest—and, hence, least hygienic areas-- but disease that mostly attacked in the cleanest places on Earth have puzzled us for some time.

Dunn lays out a couple of the theories as to how the loss of our intestinal bacteria may result in a number of first-world ailments. One issue is that some parasites have been able to mask their presence, and our bodies have learned to present a heightened response to account for this veiled threat. There has been concern for years about downside of the rampant use of anti-bacterials, antibiotics, and antiseptics, and this is a topic Dunn addresses as well.

For example, there seems to be little evidence that such agents in soap do any particular good, but they decidedly do bad encouraging drug resistant species. Perhaps the single greatest change in the nature of homo sapiens life resulted from the agricultural revolution, and Dunn delves into how this seminal event changed our bodies.

With paleo-dieting all the rage, it will come as no surprise that there have been some major changes to the human diet since our hunter-gatherer ancestors roamed the Earth. For example, we eat far too much refined sugar because our bodies are wired to love sweet, but that kind of food was rare to our pre-agricultural ancestors. Hence we have the existence of diabetes, and its greater prevalence where high-sugar diets are common. Many people are also saddled with an evolutionary advantage to store fat because their ancestors come from a clime where food was not abundant year round.

Some of the theories may turn out to be incorrect, but this book offers one a lot to think about and clear explanations of the bases for what can otherwise seem a little outlandish. There is also some wit in places that contributes to heightened readability. May 25, Onwrd Homestead rated it it was amazing. I was surprised by this book. I agreed to read it upon request by an acquaintance. To me the cover art is deceptive. I thought this was going to be a discourse on microflora and microfauna that inhabit the exteriors and interiors of our bodies.

This book is NOT that book. Dunn looks at a handful of connections made by scientists in their wildly extreme and narrow studies that at a glance may seem unrelated, in addition to the detours of the research, their findings and Dunn's ru I was surprised by this book. Dunn looks at a handful of connections made by scientists in their wildly extreme and narrow studies that at a glance may seem unrelated, in addition to the detours of the research, their findings and Dunn's running this info through the filters of human evolution and ecology make this an interesting look at the factors that ruled us then, rule us now, or are still influencing us different ways today.

Sep 28, Jeannette rated it really liked it. Thoroughly readable, enjoyable, informative. Ranging from lost cheetahs chasing pronghorns on the American plains and absent predators chasing our fear responses plus lost diseases causing appendicitis this book is a travelogue of disease and past history. The author travels round the world, ducking into laboratories and arcane subjects to tell us all about why we respond and how our bodies respond to lost organisms and an overload of modern ones.

It's a delight; everyone should read this and pr Thoroughly readable, enjoyable, informative.

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It's a delight; everyone should read this and probably any other book this fascinating author provides. May 28, Antoinette rated it really liked it. A fascinating exploration of the predators, parasites and partners that shaped our bodies. Dunn, an associate professor of biology at NCSU, has written this book for a lay audience and succeeds at making the material accessible. It is well-researched with 15 pages of notes and an index. I enjoyed reading it and learned so much.

Very interesting read I found the link to evolution and how our bodies function and behave very interesting, as well that methods of research done. Aug 21, Linda rated it liked it. Parts are thought provoking. Parts are unforgivingly dull. Jul 14, Soma Jina rated it really liked it. We know very few about our body. Apr 08, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: You can take the man out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the man. Such is the lesson of Rob Dunn's brilliantly-written The Wild Life of Our Bodies, which demonstrates to readers the ways in which interactions with other species have shaped human evolution, and the folly of our attempt to sever our ties with the natural world.

I initially thought this book was on the body as an ecosystem, host to millions of other lifeforms; some preying on us, others living in a mutualistic relationship You can take the man out of the jungle, but not the jungle out of the man. I initially thought this book was on the body as an ecosystem, host to millions of other lifeforms; some preying on us, others living in a mutualistic relationship with us, helping us to digest food in return for a roof over their little unicellular heads. That's only the start of Dunn's piece, and even there he turns expectations on our heads.

Sure, we need bacteria to help digest our food -- but as it turns out, we need, or at least could use, parasites active in our system to give certain immune responses something to do. Absent of real threats, our immune system will happily turn on us, causing various diseases and disorders. We forget how utterly alien the civilized world is to bodies which evolved in the world, becoming geared to compete and strive and fight, to cope with famine and stress.

No man is an island, nor is any species. The interactions between species -- as foes, as friends -- drive evolution, giving pronghorns and cheetahs faster legs to outrun the other, and avocado fruits larger volume to attract animals with larger appetites. Humans, in spite of our tendency to view ourselves as separate from the 'animal world', are no different in being shaped by others. Not only have our appearances changed because of relations with other species, but part of our emotional life and even our aesthetic senses have ties to ecology.

Take taste, for instance: The bitterness is the plant's way of keeping hungry foragers from forcing the seeds into the world before their time. Other species have shaped not only human bodies, but human civilization -- take the lactose-tolerance that prevails in pastoral societies, and the way grasses and cattle have prospered by becoming the staple of many civilizations. This is popular science at its best: The implications for medicine are especially worth considering, and the book as a whole reminds of the law of unintended consequences.

Dec 25, Josh Hamacher rated it really liked it. This book really wasn't what I was expecting.