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Encyclopedia > Jared M. Diamond

Jared M. Diamond (born September 10, 1937) is an American evolutionary biologist, physiologist, and biogeographer. He is best known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Guns, Germs and Steel (1998), which explores the geographic, cultural, environmental, and technological factors which have led to domination of Western culture in the world.

Diamond was born in Boston to a physician father and a teacher/musician/linguist mother. After training in laboratory biological science, he became professor of physiology at UCLA Medical School in 1966. While in his twenties, he also developed a second parallel career in the ecology and evolution of New Guinea birds, and he has led numerous trips to explore New Guinea and nearby islands. In his fifties, Diamond gradually developed a third career in environmental history, becoming professor of geography and of environmental health sciences at UCLA, his current position.

Diamond is renowned as the author of a number of popular science works that combine anthropology, biology, linguistics, genetics, and history. While Diamond is a staunch opponent of genetic arguments for racial differences, his early work included a paper entitled "Ethnic differences: Variation in human testis size", in which he investigated correlations between possible racial variations in testicular size and hormone levels and argued that testicular size and hormone levels were highest among African populations and lowest in East Asian, with Caucasian populations falling between the two.

In his most recent book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004), Diamond examines what caused some of the great civilizations of the past to collapse into ruin and considers what contemporary society can learn from their fates.

Diamond speaks a dozen languages. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences.


  • Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2004) ISBN 0670033375
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel Reader's Companion (2003) ISBN 1586638637
  • Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997) ISBN 0393317552
  • Why Is Sex Fun?: The Evolution of Human Sexuality (1997) ISBN 0465031269
  • The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal (1992) ISBN 0060984031


  • Curse and Blessing of the Ghetto (March 1991) Discover, pp.60-65

External links

  • Diamond's page at the UCLA school of medicine (
  • Diamond biography at The Edge (http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/bios/diamond.html)
  • EvoWiki: Jared Diamond (http://www.evowiki.org/wiki.phtml?title=Jared_Diamond)
  • "Ethnic differences: Variation in human testis size" (http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/003206.html) — an early paper by Jared Diamond.



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