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【English/日本語】Read an English book📖英語の本を読もう📚Sapiens―chapter#1 Insignificant Animal

英語でSapiens を読もう📖#1


For English learners!

Hello everyone, how’s your English learning journey going?😃 Reading an English book is sometimes a long journey. You might inadvertently stop if you are alone. But no worries. You are at the right place already. I would like to explore an English book here so that you can try reading the book with me. We are not alone. Let’s enjoy a fun time reading!

The book, which I picked up this time, is called Sapiens, published by Yuval Noah Harari. The Amazon Kindle link below allows you to read up to chapter 3. Today, I am covering chapter.1.

You can check out my recommending strategy of reading as well as a bit of information about this book with a link below.

Okay then, let’s get started📖






Ch.1 An Animal of No Significance 

第1章 唯一生き延びた人類種

Grasp the structure!🦧構成を把握する

To grasp the chapter, you just try to see its hierarchical configuration. I strongly recommend drawing it either physically or virtually.


Physics, Chemistry, Biology, then History

  • 13.5 billion years ago, matter, energy, time, and space came into being in the Big Bang.
  • 300,000 years after, matter and energy started to coalesce into complex structures, called atoms, which then combined into molecules.
  • 3.8 billion years ago, certain molecules combined to form particularly large and intricate structures called organisms.
Culture ➜ History
  • 700,000 years ago, Sapiens started to for even more elaborate structures called cultures. The subsequent development of these human cultures is called history.

Three important revolutions shaped the course of history.

  • The Cognitive Revolution
  • The Agricultural Revolution
  • The Scientific Revolution
  • Species
    • Mate and give birth to fertile offspring.
  • Genus
    • Have a common ancestor and have some distinctions.
  • Family
    • Share a common ancestor.

➜ Genus of Homo, species of Sapiens, Family of the great apes.

 🚧工事中 🚧

History of Homo

  • First Human
    • Australopithecus
    • 2.5 million years ago
    • North Africa, Europe, and Asia
    • First stone tools
  • Homo neanderthalensis
    • Europe and western Asia
    • Bulkier and more muscular
  • Homo erectus
    • Eastern Asia
    • survived for almost 2 million years (most durable human species)
  • Homo solensis
    • Island of Java, in Indonesia
  • Homo floresiensis
    • Island of Flores, in Indonesia
    • underwent a process of dwarfing (a maximum height of only 1 m, weighed no more than 25 kg)
  • Homo denisova
    • Denisova Cave in Siberia.
  • Homo rudolfensis
    • “Man from Lake Rudolf”
  • Homo ergaster
    • “Working Man”
  • Homo sapiens
    • “Wise Man”

 🚧工事中 🚧

Human’s characteristics
  • Extraordinarily large brains
  • Walk upright on two legs.
  • Use tools.
Social abilities
  • Extraordinarily large brains
    • consumes 25 % of the body’s energy
    • caused high death in childbirth
  • What brought to Sapiens
    • favored earlier birth
    • demanded protection and education
  • Consequently
    • developed social abilities and social ties

➜ Still, humans remained weak and marginal creatures for 2 million years.

 🚧工事中 🚧

The advent of cooking

  • 800,000 years ago, some human species may have made occasional use of fire.
  • 300,000 years ago, Homo erectus, neanderthalsis, and forefathers of sapiens used fire on a daily basis.
How fire was used?
  • Torch their neighborhoods.
  • Burn impassable barren thickets into prime grasslands.
  • Harvest charcoaled animals, nuts, and tubers.
What did fire change?
  • more kinds of food
  • easier time chewing
    • shortening of intestinal track
    • growth of brain

 🚧工事中 🚧

How are Sapiens related to other humans?

Interbreeding Theory
  • Sapiens and other human bred one another.
    • 1-4 % of DNA of modern population in the Middle East and Europe is Neanderthal DAN.
    • up to 6 % of DNA of modern Melanesians and Aboriginal Australians is Denisovan DNA.
Replacement Theory
  • Sapiens replaced all the previous human populations without merging with them.
    • It is possible that Sapiens drove other human species to extinction.

How have Sapiens remained alone consequently?

Tolerance is not a Sapiens trademark. In modern times, a small difference in skin color, dialect, or religion has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group.

How things might have turned out had the Neanderthals or Denisovans survived alongside Home sapiens?

When Charles Darwin indicated that Homo sapiens was just another kind of animal, people were outraged. Even today, many refuse to believe it. Sapiens did not tolerate to have another kind, therefore they wiped out, possible?

How others left
  • Homo solensis are dated to about 50,000 years ago.
  • Homo denisova dissapeared shortly thereafter.
  • Homo neanderthalsis made their exist roughly 30,000 years ago.
  • Homo florensis vanished about 12,000 years ago.

 🚧工事中 🚧

Summarize the chapter concisely🦧章を一言でまとめる

To summarize, check the hierarchical configuration and make sentences with important points of each.


Since organisms emerged 3.8 billion years ago, it took so long to take bring various animals to evolve. 6 million years ago, the human was born from the ancestor of the great ape and several species prospered until 10,000 years ago. Stone tools, upright walking, and social abilities didn’t make difference. However, the domestication of fire brought humans a way to have a larger brain.


Make five questions to discuss🦧5つの質問を作る

To discuss, make questions. It gives you a great topic to talk about in English.


Literal question 文脈の質問

What does it say?

One correct answer is found in the text.



  • Who is …?
  • What happens first?
  • Where are …?
  • What is the difinition of this word?
  • これは誰?
  • 何が最初に起きた?
  • これはどこですか?
  • この言葉の定義はなんですか?


  • The Cognitive Revolution
  • The Agricultural Revolution
  • The Scientific Revolution

They are important because they shaped the course of the history of Sapiens, which means they affected humans and their fellow organisms’ lives.


  • 認知革命
  • 農業革命
  • 科学革命


five questions for discussion🦧ディスカッション用の5つの質問

How does this make me feel? What does it remind me of?

There are many correct answers that are related to one’s experience; they can be found outside of the text/speech.

  • Have you ever…?
  • Does it make you angry when…?
  • Which part did you like?
  • How hard was this to understand?



  • こんな経験ありますか
  • こんなとき、怒った気持ちになりますか
  • どのパートが気に入りましたか
  • これを理解するのは難しかったですか

What does it say?

One correct answer is found in the text.

  • Who is …?
  • What happens first?
  • Where are …?
  • What is the difinition of this word?



  • これは誰?
  • 何が最初に起きた?
  • これはどこですか?
  • この言葉の定義はなんですか?

What does it mean? How are the parts connected? What is the reason for people’s actions?

There is more than one possible answer, but the viewer’s opinion is based directly on the text.

  • Why did the speaker…?
  • What can we say about the speaker’s point of view?
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • What did the speaker mean when they said…?



  • どうして話者は...?
  • 話者の視点について、どんなことが言えますか。
  • タイトルにはどんな意味があるでしょう。
  • 話者が...といったのはどういう意味でしょう。

What is the message beyond this presentation? What are the greater issues or questions this piece deals with?

The presentation is not directly referenced in the question. There are many possible answers found outside of the presentation, but it’s a starting point.

  • How do people…?
  • Why do people…?
  • What is the truth about…?



  • 人々はどうやって...?
  • どうして人々は...?
  • ...の真実は何でしょう?

How effective is the presentation in whole or in part? Why did the speaker/author make these choices and how well do they work?

Many possible answers can be found outside of the presentation but it’s a reference.

  • Is it realistic when …?
  • How does the speaker use … to show …?
  • Would this be better if …?
  • Is the speaker biased towards/against…?



  • この箇所は現実味がありますか。
  • 話者がこの...をどのように表現しましたか。
  • もし...であればもっとよかったですか。
  • 話者は...の考え方に偏っていますか。

Expressions and terms🦧覚えておきたい単語・表現

Pick some terms that you are unfamiliar with from sentences you high-lightened and memorize them because you need them to discuss this chapter!!


termexample sentence
ancestorSpecies that evolved from a common ancestor are bunched together under the heading ‘genus.’
dwarfingOn another Indonesian island, humans underwent a process of dwarfing.
oblivionIn 2010, another lost sibling was rescued from oblivion.
exterminateIn modern times, a small difference has been enough to prompt one group of Sapiens to set about exterminating another group.

Welcome on board for reading Sapiens. I am really thrilled that you read this now. I am really fascinated by the opportunity to observe humans from the viewpoint of one of the animals in this book.


Considering the timeframe, Homo sapiens has lived for not that long yet, such as Homo erectus who lived for 2 million years. Although people tend not to think our species are destined to extinct, I suppose that it is more likely.


By the way, do you think Sapiens exterminate other humans? I think they did. As the author mentioned, I agree that Sapiens doesn’t have tolerance.