A Short History of Nearly Everything - Excerpts and Notes

These are my notes and review for this book. For other reading notes see tag: books

Notes and excerpts from “A Short History of Nearly Everything”, by Bill Bryson

Purely some quotes I found interesting, without dedicating too much thought to any of them. [Missing: Kindle quotes!]

“Do you know that when nineteenth-century anthropologists first got to Papua New Guinea, they found people in the highlands of the interior, in some of the most inaccessible terrain on earth, growing sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are native to South America. So how did they get to Papua New Guinea? We don’t know. Don’t have the faintest idea. But what is certain is that people have been moving around with considerable assuredness for longer than traditionally thought, and almost certainly sharing genes as well as information.”

“But once they got going, mammals expanded prodigiously-sometimes to an almost preposterous degree. For a time, there were guinea pigs the size of rhinos and rhinos the size of a two-story house. Wherever there was a vacancy in the predatory chain, mammals rose (often literally) to fill it.”

“Our own attempts to penetrate toward the middle have been modest indeed. One or two South African gold mines reach to a depth of two miles [out of ~4000], but most mines on Earth go no more than about a quarter of a mile beneath the surface. If the planet were an apple, we wouldn’t yet have broken through the skin. Indeed, we haven’t even come close.”

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22 Mar 2022 - importance: 6