The Search for Eve: Have Scientists Found the Mother of Us All?

Michael H. Brown, Author
Michael H. Brown, Author HarperCollins Publishers $22.95 (357p) ISBN 978-0-06-016055-5
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
In 1987 a team of American geneticists shook the scientific world with their ``theory of Eve.'' Homo sapiens sapiens , they claimed, arose in east Africa a mere 200,000 years ago; all people alive today were said to have descended from a single hominid female. She and her small, elite band of fledgling humans, in this thoery, fanned out to replace older, ``more ape-manlike'' populations in Europe, Asia and elsewhere in Africa through competition or warfare. This scenario, based on a global analysis of mitochondrial DNA (genetic material inherited solely through the mother), has been challenged on several fronts: fossil movement does not support a massive spread of tools from Africa to Eurasia; mitochondrial sampling and recently unearthed fossils suggest an Asian, not an African, origin for full-fledged humans; some scientists even place ``Eve,'' if she existed, in the Middle East. Brown ( The Toxic Cloud ) in this captivating report gives space to the objections while highlighting the ``Eve'' hypothesis that continues to divide geneticists and paleoanthropologists. (Apr.)
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