Sunday, October 08, 2006

 

Homo Britannicus: Bones of contention (Sunday Times)

A Sunday Times (UK) book review of "Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain" (Amazon UK):

You might think all the main discoveries in the field of early human history are African. Certainly the newly announced fossil child from Ethiopia, dubbed Selam and by far the most complete Australopithecus skeleton known, is a 3.3m-year-old wonder. However, it is now clear that southern Britain, too, is an evolutionary archive of global significance.

Chris Stringer made his name by promoting the theories that modern humans originated in Africa and that they were distinct from European Neanderthals - both subsequently proved right by genetic studies. He has directed the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project for the last five years. AHOB, as it was known, brought together under his direction 30 scientists of many different disciplines. It was so successful that the Leverhulme Trust, which funded it with more than GBP1m, has just announced a new grant to continue the work.

His book tells the story of Britain's early humans, a story now transformed by Stringer and his colleagues.
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Chris Stringer has recently been in the news (see "Scientists bid to take Neanderthal DNA sample") and his homepage contains downloadable pdf files including:

"Human Evolution: Out of Ethiopia"

and

"On the reliability of recent tests of the Out of Africa hypothesis for modern human origins."

Also see "Neanderthals and humans lived side by side: Gorham's Cave, Gibraltar" for links to a New Scientist report, Nature technical papers, and other press reports regarding the Gibraltar discoveries. [Neandertal, Evolution, Anthropology, Science, Neandertals, Afarensis, Lucy, Discovery]

Books on Neanderthals from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

Books on Human Origins from the Science and Evolution Bookshop: UK | US

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