All Shops

Go to British Wildlife

6 issues per year 84 pages per issue Subscription only

British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published six times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

Subscriptions from £25 per year

Conservation Land Management

4 issues per year 44 pages per issue Subscription only

Conservation Land Management (CLM) is a quarterly magazine that is widely regarded as essential reading for all who are involved in land management for nature conservation, across the British Isles. CLM includes long-form articles, events listings, publication reviews, new product information and updates, reports of conferences and letters.

Subscriptions from £18 per year
Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology

The Human Advantage A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable

By: Suzana Herculano-Houzel(Author)
272 pages, 79 b/w illustrations
Publisher: MIT Press
NHBS
Why our human brains are awesome, and how we left our cousins, the great apes, behind: a tale of neurons and calories, and cooking
The Human Advantage
Click to have a closer look
Select version
  • The Human Advantage ISBN: 9780262533539 Paperback May 2017 Usually dispatched within 48 hours
    £13.99
    #234308
  • The Human Advantage ISBN: 9780262034258 Hardback Apr 2016 Usually dispatched within 48 hours #227785
Selected version: £13.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Humans are awesome. Our brains are gigantic, seven times larger than they should be for the size of our bodies. The human brain uses 25% of all the energy the body requires each day. And it became enormous in a very short amount of time in evolution, allowing us to leave our cousins, the great apes, behind. So the human brain is special, right? Wrong, according to Suzana Herculano-Houzel. Humans have developed cognitive abilities that outstrip those of all other animals, but not because we are evolutionary outliers. The human brain was not singled out to become amazing in its own exclusive way, and it never stopped being a primate brain. If we are not an exception to the rules of evolution, then what is the source of the human advantage?

Herculano-Houzel shows that it is not the size of our brain that matters but the fact that we have more neurons in the cerebral cortex than any other animal, thanks to our ancestors' invention, some 1.5 million years ago, of a more efficient way to obtain calories: cooking. Because we are primates, ingesting more calories in less time made possible the rapid acquisition of a huge number of neurons in the still fairly small cerebral cortex – the part of the brain responsible for finding patterns, reasoning, developing technology, and passing it on through culture.

Herculano-Houzel shows us how she came to these conclusions – making "brain soup" to determine the number of neurons in the brain, for example, and bringing animal brains in a suitcase through customs. The Human Advantage is an engaging and original look at how we became remarkable without ever being special.

Customer Reviews

Biography

Suzana Herculano-Houzel is Associate Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Comparative Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

By: Suzana Herculano-Houzel(Author)
272 pages, 79 b/w illustrations
Publisher: MIT Press
NHBS
Why our human brains are awesome, and how we left our cousins, the great apes, behind: a tale of neurons and calories, and cooking
Media reviews

"Elephants have bigger brains than humans. So why are we more intelligent? Suzana Herculano-Houzel tells how her ability to count neurons gives us a radical new understanding of brain biology. Her science is convincing, fun, and inspiring. The Human Advantage is a game-changer."
– Richard Wrangham, author of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human

"In this highly readable and entertaining book, Herculano-Houzel summarizes her unique and important body of work. Her numerous discoveries regarding the number of neurons in animal and human brains lead her to conclude that human brains are fairly typical primate brains, though they are unusually large. As fascinating as the science is her vivid account of both her research adventures and her challenges."
– Georg Striedter, Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior, University of California, Irvine; author of Principles of Brain Evolution and Neurobiology: A Functional Approach

"Beginning 1.5 million years ago with Homo erectus, Suzana Herculano-Houzel convincingly concludes that the human brain, a primate brain, owes its cognitive abilities to the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Engagingly and accessibly, she expands upon Wrangham's and Aiello's hypotheses that the brain was 'fed' by calories from cooked foods."
– Frances Burton, Professor Emerita, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto; author of Fire: The Spark that Ignited Human Evolution

Current promotions
Best of Winter 2018Harper CollinsOrder your free copy of our 2018 equipment catalogueBritish Wildlife