Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe - descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question: Why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?
The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals' demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals' geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity. But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans' partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals - a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable.
©2015 Pat Shipman (P)2015 Tantor
Intriguing, enlightening and fascinating
This gives an excellent explanation of why the Neanderthals disappeared and why modern humans now run the world. I will never look at my dog the same again.
Very well spoken.
When the information in a book is compelling, I find it VERY distracting for the reader, especially a female reader, to do an oral-interpretation-of-literature, over-enunciated, dramatic reading..now whispering confidentially...now almost giggling, now edging on mock-sarcasm...YUCK -- this only distracts from the content of a good scientific tome. The reader makes "the reader" the point, not the information. I could "hear" her smiling as she read. I imagined sitting around the reading rug in the 1st grade with her flipping the book around to show us the pretty pictures. STOP IT. By the time the reader got to the really dry review-of-literature stuff, she'd turned off the "charm" and turned me off, as well.
This book was not what I expected. It was a well researched series of technical papers that discuss the research of many leaders in the field of anthropology and archeology. The fascinating information is presented in topical chapters. I recommend listening to this in an environment that allows for strict attention, rather than while multitasking.
My primary critique of the writing is the sense that the author is continuously apologizing for refuting the conclusions of others. This made it difficult to focus on her arguments and assertions.
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