Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction

Milford Wolpoff, Author, Rachel Caspari, With
Milford Wolpoff, Author, Rachel Caspari, With Simon & Schuster $26 (464p) ISBN 978-0-684-81013-3
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 462 pages - 978-0-8133-3546-9
Paperback - 464 pages - 978-1-4165-7796-6
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This uneven volume from University of Michigan anthropologists Wolpoff and Caspari defends Wolpoff's theory that human evolution resulted from long-term ""multiregional evolution"" rather than via a relatively recent descent from a single ""Eve"" in Africa. The authors largely base their case on the fossil record, which contains evidence that, they contend, doesn't jibe with the Eve theory, which was derived primarily through DNA analysis by molecular biologists. Their argument is well-reasoned but some of the basic concepts, including that of multiregional evolution, could use a clearer explication. Technical material abounds, much of it likely to prove difficult for the general reader. And, while Wolpoff receives top authorial billing, the text is presented mostly in the first-person singular from Caspari's perspective, an intrusive stylistic device. There's much to ponder here, though, and the middle chapters, which place paleoanthropology in a historical and political context, are sound and informative. Illustrations. (Jan.)
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