The Improbable Primate
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The Improbable Primate : How Water Shaped Human Evolution

3.7 (47 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Taking an ecological approach to our evolution, Clive Finlayson considers the origins of modern humans within the context of a drying climate and changing landscapes. Finlayson argues that environmental change, particularly availability of water, played a critical role in shaping the direction of human evolution, contributing to our spread and success. He argues that our ancestors carved a niche for themselves by leaving the forest and forcing their way into a
long-established community of carnivores in a tropical savannah as climate changes opened up the landscape. They took their chance at high noon, when most other predators were asleep. Adapting to this new lifestyle by shedding their hair and developing an active sweating system to keep cool, being close to
fresh water was vital. As the climate dried, our ancestors, already bipedal, became taller and slimmer, more adept at travelling farther in search of water. The challenges of seeking water in a drying landscape moulded the minds and bodies of early humans, and directed their migrations and eventual settlements.

In this fresh and provocative view of a seven-million-year evolutionary journey, Finlayson demonstrates the radical implications for the interpretation of fossils and technologies and shows that understanding humans within an ecological context provides insights into the emergence and spread of Homo sapiens sapiens worldwide.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 145 x 195 x 14mm | 170g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Approx 13 black and white illustrations
  • 0198743890
  • 9780198743897
  • 85,655

Table of contents

PREFACE
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Review Text

Finlayson writes in a dry, clear, scholarly style which somehow accentuates the sheer improbability of humanity's long journey Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday
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Review quote

Finlayson writes in a dry, clear, scholarly style which somehow accentuates the sheer improbability of humanity's long journey * Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday *
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About Clive Finlayson

Clive Finlayson is a noted expert on the Neanderthals and has been researching their final stand in Gibraltar. He is Director of the Gibraltar Museum and Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, having trained in Oxford as an evolutionary ecologist. His previous books include Neanderthals and Modern Humans: An Ecological and Evolutinary Perspective (CUP, 2004) and The Humans Who Went Extinct (OUP, 2009).
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Rating details

47 ratings
3.7 out of 5 stars
5 21% (10)
4 49% (23)
3 15% (7)
2 9% (4)
1 6% (3)
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