Rights offering detail :
Looking Down the Tree - An Intimate Look at Human Evolution
Jan. 26, 2021
Mitch Cruzan
Fiction: Debut
Word Count: ~66,000
Genre: Realistic Fiction
This is a story of two women living parallel lives 60 thousand years apart. They have the same hopes and dreams for their families, but their lives are vastly different. Launua works with her clan as they struggle to survive in the savannas of Africa. Lanova lives a life of relative comfort and convenience, but she has her own struggles as she works to earn tenure in her new position as an assistant professor. Their lives seem to intersect as Lanova explores the origins of our unique human characters and behaviors with her students.

My goal was to present information about human evolution in an entertaining and engaging manner. Lanova strives to help her students understand why humans look so different than other animals. From her exploration of the scientific literature, and conversations with her partner and graduate students, she tackles many characteristics that are absent from textbooks, but of great interest to her students, and people in general. For example, she takes on the notion that the appearance of women – the lack of fur, soft skin, and enlarged breasts and buttocks – arose as a adaptations to survival in the harsh environment of the African savanna, and are not just the products of the desires of men. She helps her students understand that human behaviors, including monogamy, cooperation, philanthropy, female orgasm, and homosexuality, were products of evolution of our ancestors. Throughout the book, snippets from the parallel story of Launua serve to illustrate the ideas Lanova presents in her class. In the end, this is a book about empowerment; the power of knowledge and understanding provides us with the confidence to be comfortable with our bodies, our sexuality, and our sexual orientation.

A link to the full text is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OllIlxr9gLQ4ghYOSq7WyRDLOnDQSlYF/view?usp=sharing
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Bio Notes: Mitch Cruzan is a professor of biology at Portland State University. His 70+ papers in scientific journals, service as an editor for two leading scientific journals, and his advanced textbook on plant evolution have earned him international recognition as a leader in his field of plant evolutionary biology. He has been teaching university-level courses on evolution at the introductory and advanced levels for the past twenty years. This is his first novel.
Mitch Cruzan
Portland State University
phone: 5038603086
9870 SW Obsidian St, SRTC Rm 246 - Biology, Beaverton, OR 97007
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