Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth

Chris Stringer, Author
Chris Stringer. Holt, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8891-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-250-02330-8
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4299-7344-1
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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. Agent: John and Max Brockman, Brockman Inc. (Mar.)
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