Fortean Times

Optimism for Homo sapiens

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Human

Amanda Rees & Charlotte Sleigh

Reaktion Books 2020

Pb, 216pp, £12.95, ISBN 9781789142143

Fingers on buzzers: which species was described in 2008 by the International Council for the Conservation of Nature as “very widely distributed, adaptable, currently increasing” and facing “no major threats resulting in an overall population decline”? As Amanda Rees and Charlotte Sleigh answer at the start of their innovative and thoughtprovoking book, it’s us – Homo sapiens.

Published as part of follows a different path from its sister titles. Whereas those books – from Albatross to Zebra – have sought to show how animals have been culturally defined, tries a different method – trying not to define human-ness immediately but examining first what it has meant not to be human.

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