The Last 73.4 Thousand Years

The Last 73.4 Thousand Years : Social Relations in Prehistory

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The Last 73,400 Years: Social Relations in Prehistory Of the thousands of species which have visited the Earth, less than 4 percent have survived; and all members of the genus Homo have vanished, except for one physically unimposing species: Homo sapiens. How did we survive and manage to thrive during the unimaginably treacherous climate of the last ice age? Explanations of our very peculiar survival commonly cite possession of language, which would facilitate coordination for attack and defense, or our capacity to construct complex tools. However, others in frustration simply suggest that it was good fortune, beating the odds by simple chance. But in this new book, a reexamination of this issue is presented, starting with our near extinction 73,400 years ago, after the super-eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra. We know that having complex tools and language failed to assure survival because most humans disappeared with the ecological destruction of that event.The Last 73,400 Years interrogates the social relations of those who have survived to the present. This book should be read by every person with an interest in the lives of our Pleistocene ancestors. Of special interest to many readers are discussions of sexual relations, group marriage and the roles of kin groups. And, rather than persisting in the conventional assumption of a world of abundance with very few people, The Last 73,400 Years confronts the reality of serious resource deficits imposed by high fertility among hunter-gatherers in a world of highly variable and often dangerously collapsing ecologies. We are introduced to competitive struggles where smaller or weaker kin groups, including those of Neandertals, were forced into extinction by loss of territory and where only well managed kin groups could triumph and expand. While embracing recent findings in archaeology, genetics and climatology, this book provides a radically new understanding of the contemporary Ju/?hoansi of southern Africa and for the first time presents an image of the social relations associated with two cultures in Africa, 73.4 to 59 thousand years ago, and several cultures in Europe, 36.5 to 12 thousand years ago. The book concludes with a discussion of issues in contemporary Chinese archaeology.It is fully unlike anything published heretofore. The author, Duran Bell, is professor emeritus of economics (and anthropology) at the University of California, Irvine.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 177 pages
  • 146.05 x 222.25 x 12.7mm | 272.16g
  • Createspace Independent Pub
  • English
  • 1514395304
  • 9781514395301