This was exactly what I was looking for. It is one of the most concise, informative, and information packed books on human evolution that you will find on Audible. It's like reading a condensed version of four or five books on human evolutionary development in one, as it not only covers various aspects of human evolution (bipedalism, competition with other hominids, tool use, diet, brain size, DNA research, etc.), but also balances the consensus opinions with competing theories/interpretations of data (e.g. an African origin of h. sapiens vs. multiple groups of hominids across Asia and Africa that evolved separately but intermixed).
I prefer this balanced approach over books that have a specific thesis or unifying theme(s), as they do not provide as much if any balance to the author's point of view, leaving you wondering about the objectivity of the narrative. This book doesn't have a marketing gimmick to skew its presentation of the facts.
The level of detail in this book is sometimes comparable to a college lecture. For example, this book frequently cites dates and does not shy away from referencing lesser known homo species by name, e.g. "H. antecessor" and "H. ergaster" along with the more familiar "H. erectus" and "H. sapiens", etc. Also, in several instances the book will explain the logic or methodology behind certain assumptions or findings, e.g. how and why mitochondrial DNA can be used to trace maternal lineage back in time to an "Eve", and date her existence. It then usually provides a few examples, mention a few counter-points for balance, and then moves on.
Unlike a college lecture, the presentation is so well organized and so well paced that it keeps your interest. It never gets bogged down on extraneous details or issues, never sounds like it's wasting space trying to justify a theme, etc. Here are some facts, mechanics, conclusions, examples, counterpoints... next topic.
The reader is quick, so it's almost like 4 hours of info.
This is fascinating audio article that presents a behind the scenes look at how the scientific community would react if it discovered proof of alien life. This isn't based on speculation but an actual incident where, for the better part of the day, a group of astronomers believed they had discovered just such proof. *** It then goes on to discuss related issues, such as how you would confirm a signal was extraterrestrial, the likely dissent in the scientific community, how one might decipher the transmission (my favorite part), how long that might take (years?) if at all, speculation as to what that message might be, whether we should be transmitting our own messages (Stephen Hawking says it may not be safe), how far our television transmissions have traveled in the galaxy already, and so on.
One of the more amazing comments was from an astronomer at Berkeley who has "played a leading role in the discovery of dozens of extra-solar planets"; he predicts that space based telescopes will be able to map the continents and oceans of planets in other solar systems by the end of the century. Conversely, an alien civilization with a mere 1,000 year technological head start on us would likely have far more impressive capabilities, e.g. the ability to listen to our satellite communications.
It ends with a discussion on the Fermi Paradox (the apparent conflict between predictions that intelligent life is abundant in the galaxy/universe and the lack of evidence for such alien life).
My only "complaint" is that it wasn't longer. (However, at 23 minutes in length, it's longer than most "half hour" TV shows, when you factor in commercials) If you're interested in astronomy and/or the search for alien life in the universe, it is very much worth the mere $1.36 (just don't use a credit!)
Yes, it was interesting and I caught several of the points.
The different affect of drugs on the brain of different people. How some drugs affect people with lower intelligence but do not of higher brain function. Some of the technical jargon was a little over my head or the actual drug names so that was less interesting.
Yes, once I started it, it was best listened to in one sitting.