Ever since the first discovery of their bones, the Neanderthals have provoked controversy. Who were they? How were they related to modern people? What caused their disappearance 35,000 years ago? The Neanderthals have become the archetype of all that is primitive. But what is their true story? Today Neanderthal specialists are locked in one of the fiercest debates in modern science. One side, the "multiregional" school, argues that the Neanderthals and their contemporaries evolved semi-independently into modern humans. Christopher Stringer leads the "out of Africa" school, which believes that the Neanderthals were replaced by modern people from Africa. Here he sets out his views for the first time, with the archaeologist Clive Gamble. Step by step the authors put forward their case. The Neanderthals had an anatomy crucially different from our own, adapted to Ice Age Europe. Neanderthal behaviour similarly points to fundamental differences. New genetic evidence strongly suggests a single origin for modern humans in Africa. The authors argue that, capable and intelligent as the Neanderthals were, they proved no match for the better-organized, better-equipped newcomers, and died out.
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Compared with Erik Trinkhaus and Pat Shipman's The Neandertals ( LJ 12/92), which traces the history of Neanderthal discoveries, this book is more concerned with current interpretations of the fossil record. English anthropologists Stringer and Gamble hope to settle the controversy over the Neanderthals' proper branch on humanity's family tree by taking their case to a general audience. They marshall the evidence in favor of the "Out of Africa 2" scenario, contending that Neanderthal populations in Europe and the Middle East were replaced by a second African migration between 130,000 and 50,000 years ago. Neanderthals, therefore, are not directly ancestral to modern humans. The authors make a strong case for their interpretations, but they offer little more than a caricature of competing theories. Still, this is an important and readable book, with many good illustrations. Recommended for academic and public libraries.
- Eric Hinsdale, Trinity Univ. Lib., San Antonio
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Thames & Hudson, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0500021147
Descripción Thames & Hudson, 1993. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 500021147