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On Becoming Human

An Evolutionary Perspective
Africa was the cradle of Man. All the major changes in body form and function which characterize Man took place on the African savanna, where wildlife was abundant and varied. There, our earliest ancestors attained the upright stance, the feet for walking long distances and the skillful hands for using tools much more efficiently than any other primate.

Two crucial developments had set the stage for progress: the reduction in body hair, which led to nakedness, and the increase of brain size, which promoted intelligence. By changing the diet from a predominance of plant material to mammalian flesh, the growth of brain received the necessary nutritional input. These and all other adaptations which are unique to Man must have been developed on the African scene. They make sense there, but much less elsewhere.

Why, then, did Man leave his African home and paradise, his Garden of Eden, where life should have been easy? What powerful pressure pushed him out in the coldness of the North, where the Ice Age lasted over much of Europe and Asia? Population pressure in Africa? Obviously not, because the savannas teemed with wildlife and not a sign of over-population has been found. What, then, caused the exodus, the date of which science can now calculate quite exactly? This book presents an exciting answer to that basic question of our descendants. A new look at the Ice Age, its living conditions and the challenges met by expanding mankind show that the biological process of human evolution can now be followed up by rearranging the puzzle of biological information on Man and the paleo-environment in which he had to live. A special organism will play the key role in this process, which opened the world to the most successful species ever to roam the Earth.

Details

dtv Sachbuch
304 pages, ISBN 978-3-423-33006-0
10. Auflage 2014
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Rights sold: France, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey