A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be
In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies.
Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.
Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.
How did modern humans beat out Neanderthals, Homo erectus, and other early humans to become the only people on Earth? That's the big question paleoanthropologist Stringer (The Complete World of Human Evolution) probes in this scholarly yet accessible survey of contemporary knowledge about human evolution. Some other questions: How did humans and Neanderthals interact? What forces produced our modern genes and behavior? Stringer explores these along with the major trends in human evolutionary theory since Darwin's time, following the pendulum of scientific opinion as it swings from multiregionalism the idea that humans evolved through various phases around the globe, with no place serving as a particular origin to recent African origin theory, and back. Though a prominent out of Africa proponent, Stringer refines his earlier ideas, still focusing on an African beginning, but investigating the possibility that humans interbred with Neanderthals and other ancient humans. The book digs into fossil finds, advanced dating methods, and genetic tools, and shows how experts can deduce so much about our millennia-dead ancestors. Yet, as Stringer reminds us, even experts have only managed to obtain a small part of the picture. More than anything, the book impresses us with how much we still have to learn about our roots.