Summary – A look at motherhood and infants in the world of primates including humans.
My rating A
I really enjoyed this book. Some non fiction books can get really bogged down and beyond the understanding of someone who is only a bit familiar with the subject matter. This was not one of those books. This book was easy to understand and everything was explained in layman terms.
Being a mother but also a woman interested in women’s issues I really liked the subject matter. It also was a book that brought questions (and extrapolated answers) to the surface about the things I see in the world around me and just go “?”.
For instance, in some primates promiscuity is used to enhance the survival of infants. A female of the species will mate with males who might eventually take over her group. If she does, he is less likely to kill her offspring. Also, in some primates the males will help feed and protect children that might be theirs. As modern humans we have DNA tests and I am in no means encouraging promiscuity. But it seems to me that in out human history there were times when the people most likely to breed healthy babies were women who had many men offering some help.
Also, in a family where there are many resources and children have a high chance of survival then it makes sense to breed just a few and invest all parental resources in them. If a family has few resources and low survival rates then it makes sense to breed as many as possible so that someone will be able to add the family genes to the future. This made a lot of sense especially when I had wondered why it seemed that humans least able to care for offspring seem to breed the most.
Overall, I think this book was pretty amazing and a great read for anyone interested in mother and infant issues in primates (including themselves).