The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

Diamond has the seeds to both Collapse and Guns, Germs, and Steel in this book. It seems that toned down the invective and built out his cases for both of those books. Although, I have to admit, Diamond does read better when he's pissed and writing while trying to maintain some semblance of armchair composure. But first, some science....

Second, we already appropriate about forty percent of the Earth's net productivity ( that is, the net energy captured from sunlight ).
page 3
Molecular biologists began to realize that the chemicals of which plants and animals are composed might provide 'clocks' by which to measure genetic distances and to date times of evolutionary divergence...
The best molecule proved to be deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)...
A quick method of measuring changes in DNA structure is to mix the DNA from two species, then to measure by how many degrees of temperature the melting poing of the mixed (hybrid) DNA is reduced below the melting point of pure DNA from a single species...
As it turns out, a melting point lowered by one degree centigrade means that the DNA's of the two species differ by roughly one percent.
page 14-15

While hedging on some points... just what percentage of the 4e4 years that we've had a burgeoning tool culture, have we mastered arctic living?

while early humans ate some meat, we do not know how much meat they ate, nor whether they got the meat by hunting or scavenging. It is not until much later, around 100,000 years ago, that we have good evidence about human hunting skills, and it is clear that humans then were still very ineffective big-game hunters. Human hunters of 500,000 years ago and earlier must have been even more ineffective.
page 33
But it is only in the Arctic, where little plant food is available, that big-game hunting becomes the dominant food source, and humans did not reach the Arctic until within the last few dozen millenia.
page 34
The evidence for an abrupt rise (in technology) is clearest in France and Spain, in the Late Ice Age around 40,000 years ago...
Tools fall into many distinct categories whos function is often obvious, such as needles, awls, mortars and pestles, fishhooks, net-sinkers, and rope.
page 40
The average heght of hunter-atherers in that region (Greece and Turkey) towards the end of the Ice Age was a generous 5 foot 10 inches for men, 5 foot 6 inches for women. With the adoption of agriculture, height crashed, reaching by 4000 BC a low value of only 5 foot 3 inches for men, 5 foot 1 inch for women.
page 168
The immediate objectives are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements. it will be essential to ruin their crops in the ground and prevent their planting more.
George Washington on Indians, page 277