In the last two hundred years, humans have made such a tremendous impact on the world that our geological epoch is about to be declared the 'Anthropocene', or the Age of Man. But while we have been busy changing the shape of the world, the ways of living that we have been fashioning have, as if under the cover of darkness, been changing our bodies and altering our DNA, too.
We overindulge in the wrong diets; we are over-stimulated by technology; our lifestyles have become ever more sedentary; we are in a chronic cycle of stress... It explains why:
- more than 150 million people in the US have flat feet
- there are billions more chairs on the planet than there are humans
- we have grown 5 inches in the past 200 years
- 70% of Americans are on prescription drugs, the pills popped each year, laid end-to-end could orbit the planet twice
- our feet have grown by two sizes over the past 4 decades
- our diet has changed the shape of our faces, giving us slacker jawlines, wonky teeth, fleshy jowls
- by the time you've finished reading this summary, two people will have died of poor air quality
Primate Change offers up a wide-ranging, intelligent look at: how and why the human body has changed since the agricultural revolution, how the way we live now is altering us inside and out and what things we can do to turn back the clock a little.
Vybarr Cregan-Reid is an author and academic. He is Reader in English & Environmental Humanities in the School of English at the University of Kent. His most recent book is Footnotes: How Running Makes us Human (Ebury 2016, paperback June 2017), which reviewers called 'delightful', 'impassioned and energetic', and 'a blazing achievement'. He has written widely on the subjects of literature, health, nature and the environment for the BBC, the Guardian, The Independent, The Big Issue, The Telegraph, The Mail, The Washington Post, The I Newspaper, Wanderlust, Literary Review, New Zealand Herald and he has appeared on Radio 4 and Sky News.