You don't need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle books. Download one of our FREE Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on all your devices.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Digital List Price: $37.34
Kindle Price: $16.78

Save $20.56 (55%)

includes tax, if applicable

These promotions will be applied to this item:

Some promotions may be combined; others are not eligible to be combined with other offers. For details, please see the Terms & Conditions associated with these promotions.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live by [Zuk, Marlene]
Audible Narration
Kindle App Ad

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live 1st , Kindle Edition

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition, 11 Mar 2013
"Please retry"

Length: 337 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Audible Narration:
Audible Narration
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.99 after you buy the Kindle book.
Language: English

Winter Sale
Save up to 70% on over 250 Kindle Books. Sale ends 27 August 2017 at 11:59 pm AEST. Shop now

Product description

Product Description

“With . . . evidence from recent genetic and anthropological research, [Zuk] offers a dose of paleoreality.”—Erin Wayman, Science News

We evolved to eat berries rather than bagels, to live in mud huts rather than condos, to sprint barefoot rather than play football—or did we? Are our bodies and brains truly at odds with modern life? Although it may seem as though we have barely had time to shed our hunter-gatherer legacy, biologist Marlene Zuk reveals that the story is not so simple. Popular theories about how our ancestors lived—and why we should emulate them—are often based on speculation, not scientific evidence.

Armed with a razor-sharp wit and brilliant, eye-opening research, Zuk takes us to the cutting edge of biology to show that evolution can work much faster than was previously realized, meaning that we are not biologically the same as our caveman ancestors. Contrary to what the glossy magazines would have us believe, we do not enjoy potato chips because they crunch just like the insects our forebears snacked on. And women don’t go into shoe-shopping frenzies because their prehistoric foremothers gathered resources for their clans. As Zuk compellingly argues, such beliefs incorrectly assume that we’re stuck—finished evolving—and have been for tens of thousands of years. She draws on fascinating evidence that examines everything from adults’ ability to drink milk to the texture of our ear wax to show that we’ve actually never stopped evolving. Our nostalgic visions of an ideal evolutionary past in which we ate, lived, and reproduced as we were “meant to” fail to recognize that we were never perfectly suited to our environment. Evolution is about change, and every organism is full of trade-offs.

From debunking the caveman diet to unraveling gender stereotypes, Zuk delivers an engrossing analysis of widespread paleofantasies and the scientific evidence that undermines them, all the while broadening our understanding of our origins and what they can really tell us about our present and our future.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1365 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (18 March 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q6XM1A
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #164,642 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
click to open popover

Customer reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.8 out of 5 stars 72 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has Some Merit, but Weak in Some Areas 24 May 2015
By T. R. Smith - Published on
Verified Purchase
Most of the strongly negative reviews are unconvinced regarding Zuk's principal argument against Paleo diets: primarily that human evolution occurs all the time, and has already accommodated the change to a diet that includes grains and dairy. There is actually quite a lot of merit in her argument, and an overview of the facts confirm it. While many more people in developed regions suffer from an array of metabolic syndrome disorders and immune dysfunction that could be helped with improved diet, there are nevertheless many people who live long, healthy lives who eat bread and drink milk and complain about eating vegetables every single day of their lives. Paleo diet creators seem to have dismissed these very hardy, healthy people among us, who seem to get by just fine regardless of what they eat. There are many, many people in this category, and they have apparently adapted well to a wider diet than paleo would recommend.

That said, Paleo diets should not be dismissed, either. Especially for those with disorders like celiac disease or lactose intolerance, Paleo diets are healthy alternatives. In fact, Paleo diets are not likely unhealthy at all for most folks. But, Paleo dieting is expensive, and could be environmentally devastating today, especially if 7 billion people adopted it.

The parts of Zuk's Paleofantasy that I found most untenable were the chapters on evolution of human behaviour, Paleofantasy love and the Paleofantasy family. Zuk chatters on about modern humans, and our behaviourly very-distant relatives, the baboons and apes, and even seahorses, because the fact is we really have no idea what sex and family were like in the Paleolithic. We quickly overlook the fact that virtually all of our knowledge of this age comes from a handful of burials scattered around the globe, and dead people don't tell us much about their social behaviour. Even the burials themselves are often in very poor condition and difficult to interpret. The rare instances where we might perhaps get a tangible but imperfect glimpse into the Paleolithic family (Sungir, for example) are not mentioned by Zuk at all. Studies of modern hunter-gatherers, while not technically Paleolithic, help somewhat, but it's really quite a stretch to project modern-day !Kung San behaviour to northwestern Europe 30,000 years ago. Scientists who ponder such things earnestly want to know, they want to know badly, but in this area we still know virtually nothing. We can probably surmise that sexual behaviour and the concept of "family" varied widely at any given time in the Paleolithic, much as they do now. That's about it. But science is about proof, not conjecture, and in this area proof is difficult if not impossible to come by. So these chapters would have been better left out.
4.0 out of 5 stars but the author tries to hard to be fun (analogies/metaphors, personal anecdotes 25 July 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Fascinating topic. The book is well-researched and compelling, but the author tries to hard to be fun (analogies/metaphors, personal anecdotes, jokes, etc.). It seems like an effort to make the book read more like a magazine than an academic paper, but I just found it awkward and distracting. Still, it's a great read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humor and science 24 December 2016
By Kevin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. Along with debunking the paleodiet garbage with current research there is a dose of humor injected throughout the book. This makes it a great read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and inspiring to all who love food and being healthy 5 March 2015
By Judith Kunzle - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Paleofantasy is a treasure for all those who are interested, and would like to understand, the evolution of human nutrition. With facts and wit, Zuk blows apart the clouds of the believers.

As in her previous books, Zuk brings together the work of international scientists of different disciplines, making the reader aware of the many aspects of evolution and nutrition that have been researched, and what has been revealed as facts.

Unlike food fantasies that promote to limit our diet, this book is refreshing to all who love food and take being healthy seriously. It is exciting to learn how our tolerance for digesting milk is part of our evolution, and what was found in the plaque of ancient humans.

Zuk’s humor makes it so much fun to learn about the facts - and to accept what we do not know.

Most of all, Paleofantasy points out how evolution has never been a smooth process, never a time when we, or any other living organism, had been living in perfect harmony with the environment. And we’re still in the process of evolution…
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed this book 30 January 2016
By Joey L. - Published on
Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a nice skeptical look at the idea that we should be living life as closely to our cave dwelling ancestors. Zuk tackles a variety of topics including diet, exercise, and relationships. With every topic she discusses, she takes a critical look at whether or not the evidence shows that the ways of the cave people are best. She also asks throughout the book for the reader to ponder whether or not humans have stopped evolving and, if we haven't, does that mean the ways of the cave people are still the best. She cites all of her sources which is very nice. Her writing style is engaging yet scientific. Scientist and non-scientist alike should have no problem enjoying this book

Where's My Stuff?

Delivery and Returns

Need Help?