Bill Schutt: Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History & The Himalayan Codex

Published on August 24, 2017 by   ·   No Comments 512hF4EPkaLComing September 8th 8pm Eastern

With Pritchett and McNicholas!

Click here for the Podbean archive

“A masterful and compulsively readable book that challenges our preconceived notions about a behavior often sensationalized in our culture and, until just recently, misunderstood in the scientific world.” —Ian Tattersall, Curator Emeritus, American Museum of Natural History, and author of The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack

For centuries scientists have written off cannibalism as a bizarre phenomenon with little biological significance. Its presence in nature was dismissed as a desperate response to starvation or other life-threatening circumstances, and few spent time studying it. A taboo subject in our culture, the behavior was portrayed mostly through horror movies or tabloids sensationalizing the crimes of real-life flesh-eaters. But the true nature of cannibalism–the role it plays in evolution as well as human history–is even more intriguing (and more normal) than the misconceptions we’ve come to accept as fact.

In Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History,zoologist Bill Schutt sets the record straight, debunking common myths and investigating our new understanding of cannibalism’s role in biology, anthropology, and history in the most fascinating account yet written on this complex topic. Schutt takes readers from Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, where he wades through ponds full of tadpoles devouring their siblings, to the Sierra Nevadas, where he joins researchers who are shedding new light on what happened to the Donner Party–the most infamous episode of cannibalism in American history. He even meets with an expert on the preparation and consumption of human placenta (and, yes, it goes well with Chianti).

Bringing together the latest cutting-edge science, Schutt answers questions such as why some amphibians consume their mother’s skin; why certain insects bite the heads off their partners after sex; why, up until the end of the twentieth century, Europeans regularly ate human body parts as medical curatives; and how cannibalism might be linked to the extinction of the Neanderthals. He takes us into the future as well, investigating whether, as climate change causes famine, disease, and overcrowding, we may see more outbreaks of cannibalism in many more species–including our own.

Cannibalism places a perfectly natural occurrence into a vital new context and invites us to explore why it both enthralls and repels us.

 The Himalayan Codex

“Looks like Schutt and Finch are filling the void left by the passing of Michael Crichton.”–James Cameron, director/writer/explorer

In the wake of World War II, zoologist and adventurer Captain R. J. MacCready is sent to the frozen mountain valleys of Tibet to find a creature of legend that may hold the secret to humankind’s evolutionary future—or the key to its extinction—in this explosive follow-up to Hell’s Gate.

It is 1946, and the world is beginning to rebuild from the ashes of the devastating war. Marked by the perilous discoveries he encountered in the wilds of Brazil, Captain R. J. MacCready has a new assignment on the other side of the globe—a mission that may help him put the jungle’s horrors behind him. He is headed for the Himalayas, to examine some recently discovered mammoth bones.

Arriving in Asia, Mac learns the bones are only a cover story. He’s really there to investigate an ancient codex allegedly written by Pliny the Elder, a fascinating text filled with explosive secrets. The Roman naturalist claimed to have discovered a new race of humans, a divergent species that inspired the myth of the Yeti and is rumored to have the ability to accelerate the process of evolution. If Pliny’s assertions are true, this seemingly supernatural ability holds unlimited potential benefits—and unlimited potential for destruction.

Charged with uncovering more about this miracle species, Mac sets off into the remote mountain valleys of Tibet, using the codex as his guide. But the freezing climate and treacherous terrain are only the beginning of the dangers facing him. He must also contend with the brutal Chinese army and a species of native creature even the Yeti seem to fear. The deeper he plunges into the unknown, the more certain it appears that Mac and the associates who join his odyssey may not make it out alive.

Combining plausible science, history, and action-packed thrills, The Himalayan Codex is a page-turning adventure sure to enthrall fans of James Rollins, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, and Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


Readers Comments (0)




Post Column