The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

Pat Shipman. Harvard Univ./Belknap, $29.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-674-73676-4
Why did Neanderthals go extinct while modern humans flourished? Was it the invasion of modern human populations or a changing climate that pushed Neanderthals into extinction? These are the main questions that Shipman (The Animal Connection) addresses. She summarizes much of what is known about diets, hunting behavior, and lifestyles of both Neanderthals and humans, while examining ancient climate change and recent advances in dating technology. She concludes that the data does not support the idea that climate change alone can account for the extinction of our cousin species. Focusing on the ecological concept of species invasion, Shipman contends that as humans expanded their range, their dietary flexibility and technological innovations permitted them to outcompete other major carnivores, including Neanderthals, cave bears, lesser scimitar cats, cave lions and cave hyenas. Shipman makes a strong case, but fails to find evidence for the title's premise, the idea that dogs played a significant role in the extinction of the Neanderthals. Indeed, as she points out, Neanderthals were likely extinct by the time the first evidence for canine domestication appears. Nonetheless, there is still ample evidence that dogs played a significant role in human evolution, and Shipman addresses this role creatively. Illus. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 03/01/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4945-1309-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-4945-6309-7
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 283 pages - 978-0-674-42538-5
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