Few of us know much about the biology of sex determination, but what could be more interesting than to discover how we are shaped into males and females? In this book, Elof Carlson tells the incredible story of the difficult quest to understand how the body forms girls and boys. Carlson's history takes us from antiquity to the present day to detail how each component of human reproduction and sexuality was identified and studied, how this knowledge enlarged our understanding of sex determination, and how it was employed to interpret such little understood aspects of human biology as the origin of intersex births.
The book is published by Indiana University Press.
"Carlson does an excellent job presenting the researchers who, over time, worked out the details of sex determination and differentiation. Highly informative and instructive." (Johan Verhulst, MD, Kinsey Institute)
"Carlson reveals the various scientific advances, in both methods and understanding, that allowed researchers to identify anatomical structures, gametes, sex hormones, sex chromosomes, and ultimately, a firm comprehension of the genetics of sex. This scientific story of discovery is quite fascinating." (Barbara Baumgartner, Washington University)
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A Science Marvel
This book answered questions I never knew to ask. It offered powerful and concise delivery of a complex topic. The narration was flawless and I will keep this on my reference bookshelf forever.
Funny History and Real Science
He has a professorial voice that suits the topic.
I found the combination of history and science to be most interesting. The book isn't intended to be funny, but the oh-so-ridiculous theories and beliefs that apparently-smart people came up with about sexes, before science, was laughable. These weren't just possibilities that Aristotle (yes, that Aristotle) and others hypothesized about while hanging out drinking wine on the isles of Greece, but actual beliefs (presumed to be absolutely true) of how the body, sex, and life worked.I got some good chuckles from hearing about the "wise" and their absurd conclusions. Makes you wonder what we today are being so "wise" about in our day, but is absolutely absurd.