Sunday, 13 May 2007

The Dragons of Eden by Carl Sagan


"Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence" is the subtitle.

Written in 1977. I am sure that many of the subjects in this book have now progressed far beyond this collection of thoughts, nevertheless, this book provides an intriguing and wide ranging introduction to the topic. We are given an anatomical tour of the brain, comparisons of competing theories of how it developed and how it is organised. We are tempted with glimpses of truth resulting from comparisons between human and animal brains and behaviours, which also reveals that we are perhaps not so far removed from our nearest cousins as we might sometimes assume.

Sagan even tries to ask questions about common human myths and ways of thinking and links them to what we know about the brain's development and operation.

Much thought provoking stuff on left and right brain conflict and some fascinating insights into the effects of various brain diseases and injuries.

A very useful further reading section included.

A great book, up to his usual excellent standard.

4 out of 5 stars.

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