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The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional In the tradition of Jared Diamond s million copy selling classic Guns, Germs, and Steel, a bold new synthesis of paleontology, archaeology, genetics, and anthropology that overturns misconceptions about race, war and peace, and human nature itself, answering an age old question What made humans so exceptional among all the species on Earth Creativity It is the secret of what makes humans special, hiding in plain sight Agustin Fuentes argues that your child s finger painting comes essentially from the same place as creativity in hunting and gathering millions of years ago, and throughout history in making war and peace, in intimate relationships, in shaping the planet, in our communities, and in all of art, religion, and even scienceIt requires imagination and collaboration Every poet has her muse every engineer, an architect every politician, a constituency The manner of the collaborations varies widely, but successful collaboration is inseparable from imagination, and it brought us everything from knives and hot meals to iPhones and interstellar spacecraft Weaving fascinating stories of our ancient ancestors creativity, Fuentes finds the patterns that match modern behavior in humans and animals This key quality has propelled the evolutionary development of our bodies, minds, and cultures, both for good and for bad It snot the drive to reproduce nor competition for mates, or resources, or power nor our propensity for caring for one another that have separated us out from all other creatures As Fuentes concludes, to make something lasting and useful today you need to understand the nature of your collaboration with others, what imagination can and can t accomplish, and, finally, just how completely our creativity is responsible for the world we live in Agustin Fuentes s resounding multimillion year perspective will inspire readers and spark all kinds of creativity This is an interesting book about the evolution of humans and the role of creativity in that process Here is a little of what is argued in the book Some animals have the capacity to use objects as tools For example, chimpanzees can use lightly modified sticks, and unmodified stones They learn this behavior from others Early hominin species were making Oldowan tools around 2.5 million years ago Making and using stone tools involves muchinformation, collaboration, and creativity than This is an interesting book about the evolution of humans and the role of creativity in that process Here is a little of what is argued in the book Some animals have the capacity to use objects as tools For example, chimpanzees can use lightly modified sticks, and unmodified stones They learn this behavior from others Early hominin species were making Oldowan tools around 2.5 million years ago Making and using stone tools involves muchinformation, collaboration, and creativity than selecting a rock or stick, as it is, to use The making of the Oldowan tools required a set of manipulations made possible by hands like ours and a capacity for predicting the outcomes of hitting rocks in certain ways physics Most important, each group seems to have had many toolmakers and possibly everyone in the group was a toolmaker This suggests a process of sharing information, passing around knowledge to make and use these tools within groups and across generations the first tangible sign of our collaborative creativity The most common Oldowan tool is a sharp stone flake created by striking a stone core often called a cobble with another stone, called a hammer stone This simple stone toolmaking process opened up a space for our ancestors to grow their brains and increase social and cognitive complexity two core features of our evolutionary history We know the brain is exceedingly expensive to grow, using 20 to 30 percent of the body s energy during peak growth, between two and seven years of age There had to be a pretty extreme increase in nutrition between 500,000 and 2 million years ago to power the massive increase in brain size we see in the fossils The earliest members of the genus Homo from around 2.3 to 1.8 million years ago have brains in the 600 to 650 cubic centimeter range about 30% larger than apes of approximately the same body size by 1.5 million years ago we see Homo erectus fossils with brains hitting 750 to 900 cubic centimeter area and nearly modern size brainsthan 1000 cubic centimeters appearing by 400,000 to 500,0000 years ago Cleverly invented and utilized tools made the necessary increase in consumed calories possible By about 1.5 million years ago we start to see a new type of stone tool Acheulean early phase and a later phase, around 700,000 to 250,000 years ago The early Acheulean industry producedthan just choppers and cutters, and it adopted the increasingly common method of refining tools by removing smaller flakes on both sides of the edge, thus making sharper andresilient edges It is in this phase of toolmaking than hand axes start to show up, and they last as part of the human tool kit almost into contemporary times Our ancestors needed meat They d become adept at scavenging, using stone tools to cut meat from the remains of kills left by predators,than 2 million years ago But passive scavenging, taking the leftover scraps, was not enough They wanted the best, and the most, meat so they began to power scavenge, getting to kills early and attempting to take them away from predators If the cut marks from stone tools are overlaid on the predator teeth marks that is, they cut into the teeth marks this is evidence of passive scavenging However, starting about 2 million years or so ago we start to find the reverse the predator tooth marks and other scavenger marks sit on top of the stone tool marks Now, we don t find any evidence early on that stone tools were used to kill the prey animal Our ancestors were taking the kills away they were power scavenging Whereas passive scavenging requires some creativity, power scavenging takes the creative process to a new level Choosing when to try to take a kill from a predator, coordinating the behavior of the group to get it done, having the right tools handy, getting the meat from the carcass in a quick and organized fashion, and getting out of there beforepredators show up is no easy task Around 400,000 years ago we see evidence of fire places and regular hunting I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley Thank you to the author, Agustin Fuentes, and the publisher, Dutton Books, for this opportunity.This non fiction details the history of humanity s creative spirit emerging in perhaps the most obvious and yet unforeseen of ways This isn t concerned with the, so called, creative geniuses, but with the everyday man and woman.The earliest hunter gatherers showed signs of this creative spark in their use of fire and the construction of I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley Thank you to the author, Agustin Fuentes, and the publisher, Dutton Books, for this opportunity.This non fiction details the history of humanity s creative spirit emerging in perhaps the most obvious and yet unforeseen of ways This isn t concerned with the, so called, creative geniuses, but with the everyday man and woman.The earliest hunter gatherers showed signs of this creative spark in their use of fire and the construction of the earliest forms of tools for cutting Every social group shows signs of this creative spark in their hierarchical organisation and ability to cohabitate in the same sector The human species entire evolutionary process has shown us that our creative spark is what has allowed us to progress and to grow.Whilst I found the overall subject matter fascinating, I also found it dwelling on topics I didn t find of much particular interest There was a lot of focus on the animals we descended from and I wasn t expecting such a large portion of the book to focus on this I sometimes found myself skimming some sections until it got back to the initial subject it was focusing on.The arguments this book raised I had often never heard phrased as such before, and it provided some insightful food for thought This might not have been wholly what I was looking for, but it was interesting, well structured and an in depth insight into human evolution as I have never seen it discussed before This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.Being a psychology major, you have to have a passing familiarity with evolution Not just our old ancestors, butthan that Knowing that you can track the progression of human brain growth and how when skills might have been acquired by looking at the size of a skull Then you can compare humans and apes, seeing what may or may not match up How humans could have become the way they are.Then, there s evolutionary psychology with how thi This review and others can be found on BW Book Reviews.Being a psychology major, you have to have a passing familiarity with evolution Not just our old ancestors, butthan that Knowing that you can track the progression of human brain growth and how when skills might have been acquired by looking at the size of a skull Then you can compare humans and apes, seeing what may or may not match up How humans could have become the way they are.Then, there s evolutionary psychology with how things have stayed throughout the centuries Why things stick and then others don t How traits carry on through the years despite them seeming undesirable.While I don t plan on going into evolutionary psychology or theory although it s fascinating I know all of this thanks to my classes Not just psychology, but cultural anthropology My professor started out talking about the last common ancestor LCA and sort of on through there since you have to know the basics of hominids.All of that being said, I have ample background on this topic Practically everything Fuentes mentioned in his book I had either heard before or it was a slightly different twist on it I wish he had spenttime on some things, but I love the spin on it The reason why we have all of these abilities that are uniquely human is that of creativity It s, well, creative And how he used facts and showed them in a new light, it really helped make his point.For anything else, I d want this book for reminders about human evolution and to use for any research I have to do in the future since it s such a good resource point I definitely recommend this bookto beginners on this topic than people who know a lot This book was a easy read for me as I was familiar with Jared Diamond s books, it was almost like reading a summary of every chapter in Guns, Germs and Steel with a tinge too much of moral justifications added.

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