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Homo Mysterious

Evolutionary Puzzles of Human Nature by David P. Barash

Through an evolutionary lens, this book explores proposals — probable and improbable — that seek to explain the mysteries of human biology and behavior. Looking at questions such as what adaptive advantages, if any, human ancestors might have gotten out of developing the mental capacities for art, Barash provides no pat answers. Instead, he delights in all that remains unknown and unexplained.

Among the most interesting questions is why women’s ovulation is concealed not only to potential partners but also to women themselves. Barash describes one theory that posits hidden ovulation could give women more control over choosing a partner and when to mate. Other biological “puzzles” explored include breasts, female orgasm and homosexuality.

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