Animal: What Makes Us Human
How We Do It
The origins of our reproductive lives are a mystery. Why are a quarter of a billion sperm cells needed to fertilize one egg? Are women really fertile for only a few days each month? How long should babies breastfeed? In his new book How We Do It, Field Museum of Natural History curator Robert Martin draws on 40 years of research in biological anthropology to locate the roots of everything from our sex cells to the way we care for newborns. He examines the procreative history of humans, as well as that of our primate kin, to reveal what’s really natural when it comes to making and raising babies.
Martin is joined in conversation by Re:sound host Gwen Macsai.
Images by Alissa Zhu
Robert Martin is a curator of biological anthropology at the Field Museum of Natural History. He initially studied zoology at Oxford University. Postdoctoral research in France consolidated his interests in primates and led to his first academic appointment in anthropology at University College London. He was also a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London and visiting professor at Yale University and the Musée de l'Homme, Paris. He directed the Anthropological Institute in Zürich, Switzerland for 15 years prior to his appointment at Chicago’s Field Museum.
Gwen Macsai, host of Re:sound, is an award-winning writer, producer and humorist, whose radio work has aired on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition Saturday. She's also the creator of the television sitcom What About Joan starring Joan Cusack, and author of Lipshtick, a book of humorous first-person essays.
Leaders And Thinkers
- Robert Martin
- Biography and research profile at The Field Museum
- How We Do It
- The author's blog at Psychology Today