• Last Ape Standing

  • The Seven Million-Year Story of How and Why We Survived
  • By: Chip Walter
  • Narrated by: Bernard Clark, Teresa DeBerry
  • Length: 9 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (95 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Over the past 150 years scientists have discovered evidence that at least 27 species of humans evolved on planet Earth. These weren't simply variations on apes, but upright-walking humans who lived side by side, competing, cooperating, sometimes even mating with our direct ancestors. Why did the line of ancient humans who eventually evolved into us survive when the others were shown the evolutionary door? Chip Walter draws on new scientific discoveries to tell the fascinating tale of how our survival was linked to our ancestors being born more prematurely than others, having uniquely long and rich childhoods, evolving a new kind of mind that made us resourceful and emotionally complex; how our highly social nature increased our odds of survival; and why we became self aware in ways that no other animal seems to be. Last Ape Standing also profiles the mysterious "others" who evolved with us - the Neanderthals of Europe, the "Hobbits" of Indonesia, the Denisovans of Siberia and the just-discovered Red Deer Cave people of China who died off a mere 11,000 years ago. Last Ape Standing is evocative science writing at its best - a witty, engaging and accessible story that explores the evolutionary events that molded us into the remarkably unique creatures we are; an investigation of why we do, feel, and think the things we do as a species, and as people - good and bad, ingenious and cunning, heroic and conflicted.

©2013 William J. (Chip) Walter Jr. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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What listeners say about Last Ape Standing

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Harmed by the Narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Teresa DeBerry's narrative style is quite annoying. She sounds like someone accustomed to reading "just so" stories to backward children. Her reading has a soporific rhythm which makes the text seem more tedious than it is. The author has a penchant for using rather shopworn clichés and occasionally applies them incorrectly. For example, he compares the Acheulean handaxe to the Swiss army knife (what a chestnut that one is) but attributes it to the Neolithic period. Furthermore, Mr. Walter writes with a yawn-provoking politically correct style which does nothing but detract from the listener's pleasure

Has Last Ape Standing turned you off from other books in this genre?

Paleoanthropology is a fascinating subject for me, though "Last Ape Standing" has been somewhat disappointing I will continue to seek out titles in this genre.

Would you be willing to try another one of Bernard Clark and Teresa DeBerry ’s performances?

I will probably avoid Ms. DeBerry's performances in the future.

2 people found this helpful

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Broad social and psychological view of hominids

I listened to this book twice- about one year apart. The book really pushed into psychological and sociological aspects of hominids with very well thought out extrapolations. It is well referenced and balanced. It had a deeper meaning to me on the 2nd read.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Drama

I wish Audible would find readers who don't feel the need to dramatize nonfiction. Women readers in particular seem to do this, and in this case it's particularly annoying because she seems to "punch" all the cliches, making them even more hard to listen to.

The reader aside, this book has both compelling and boring moments--but don't we all. It's a good read---I found the sections on the Neanderthals and on the bicameral mind particularly interesting---although occasionally I wondered if the author was verging on pseudoscience.

2 people found this helpful

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amazing

The concepts in this book helped me to appreciate what a truly wonderful and unique development the human race is and how important it is to nurture one's children.

1 person found this helpful

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This was my second reading of this book

Would you listen to Last Ape Standing again? Why?

Absolutely yes, in fact, this was my second reading of the book (this time in audiobook), maybe that is a oerfect clue about how much I've enjoyed it and how entertaining and enlightening it is.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it - made me look at people differently

The book made me look at homosapiens as more than the dominant beings but as a stroke of luck in the journey of evolution. I used the information to discuss with my family at dinner and provide different perspectives on why people are different.

1 person found this helpful

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Some interesting info, quite fluffy

This book repeats a lot -- despite the fact that the subject has lots of data that could be included while keeping it interesting. I lost interest because the thinking per minute required dropped too low, even at double speed.

1 person found this helpful

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one of the best books on human evolution I read

This is one of the best books I've listened to on human evolution .The book was well written and easy to understand. I really appreciate that the author takes the hubris out of the book. which is a common problem I've seen in studies and books discussing human evolution and prehistory.

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Amazing evolution and well explained.

I enjoyed this book and it makes me wonder what the future human will be like.

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Truly worth a deep listen.

For me as being an avid anthropology reader, this book was a great way to get a much larger picture of how of all these hominids had been most likely interacting with each other and or simply just dying off due to various possibilities. And for me the very end is the best part...no spoilers for you.