The Real Eve: Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa

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9780786713349: The Real Eve: Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa
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About 80 millennia ago, out of one major exodus by migratory human ancestors from Africa from Eritrea to Yemen (then to India and Australia, and eventually to Europe) was the entire non-African world in all its racial and cultural diversity ultimately peopled; and to one prehistoric woman in Africa 150,000 years ago, all the peoples of the world can trace their genetic origin. So argues Stephen Oppenheimer in a groundbreaking volume that has stirred heated controversy among authorities in geology, linguistics, archaeology, and anthropology. Thoroughly researched and meticulously reasoned, with dramatic evidence garnered from recent advances in the field of genetics through DNA analysis, The Real Eve traces the evolution of modern humankind out of a common African ancestry for again and again, Oppenheimer's extensive genealogical research, based on our gender-specific so-called Adam and Eve genes, has led him straight back to Africa. His conclusions have placed him in direct opposition to multiregionalists, who maintain that archaic human populations evolved locally, and have unsettled many long-established anthropological assumptions and cultural prejudices to provide a fresh perspective on the nature of the human destiny that all of us on planet Earth share. Color photographs are featured in this fascinating story of our human beginnings.

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"There was only one main Exodus of modern humans from Africa, and no more," writes medical doctor and researcher Oppenheimer (Eden in the East), taking on advocates of "multiregional" origins and those who believe there were several exoduses out of Africa. Oppenheimer deftly brings together recent advances in population genetics, climatology and archeology to advance his theory that when groups of Homo sapiens left Africa approximately 80,000 years ago, they first headed east along the Indian Ocean, where they formed settlements as far away as India over several thousands of years. It was only during a respite in glacial activity, when deserts turned into traversable grasslands, that our ancestors headed northwest into the Russian steppes and on into eastern Europe, as well as northeast through China and over the now submerged continent of Beringia (located where the Bering Strait is today) into North America. Much of Oppenheimer's theory relies on recent advances in studies of mitochondrial DNA, inherited through the maternal line, and Y chromosomes, inherited by males from their fathers. The author devotes a chapter to the question of when humans first arrived in the New World, the raging Clovis vs. pre-Clovis controversy. Oppenheimer briefly discusses development of racial characteristics like facial structure and skin coloration, important topics often viewed as too hot to handle. This book will appeal mainly to science buffs; the level of detail may prove daunting to general readers. It is the basis for a three-hour special that aired earlier this month on the Discovery Channel. Illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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