Genes, Peoples, and Languages / Edition 1 available in Paperback
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza was among the first to ask whether the genes of modern populations contain a historical record of the human species. Cavalli-Sforza and others have answered this questionanticipated by Darwinwith a decisive yes. Genes, Peoples, and Languages comprises five lectures that serve as a summation of the author's work over several decades, the goal of which has been nothing less than tracking the past hundred thousand years of human evolution.Cavalli-Sforza raises questions that have serious political, social, and scientific import: When and where did we evolve? How have human societies spread across the continents? How have cultural innovations affected the growth and spread of populations? What is the connection between genes and languages? Always provocative and often astonishing, Cavalli-Sforza explains why there is no genetic basis for racial classification.
|Publisher:||University of California Press|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
|1.||Genes and History||3|
|2.||A Walk in the Woods||33|
|3.||Of Adam and Eve||57|
|4.||Technological Revolutions and Gene Geography||92|
|5.||Genes and Languages||133|
|6.||Cultural Transmission and Evolution||173|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A good introductory reading on a fascinating subject by the world's leading population geneticist, summarizing in very-easy-to-follow narrative main findings of his research in the last four decades confirming the hypothesis that the human species is not divided into color-coded races. From the genetic point of view, the concept of different races is unscientific, the outward or physical differences exhibited by various ethnic groups are mere outward adaptation to different climates. He argues and attempts to show that there is a linkage between the evolution of genes and development of languages and cultures. Cavalli-Sforza introduces a lot of information, but only skims the surface which i found disappointing. He also tries too much to "laymanize" some concepts, which i felt perhaps lost a bit of scientific rigor. It does, however, point the reader to other sources, including his own more technical and comprehensive publications.
This book is an easy-to-read well-craft tale written by an authoritative geneticist. The author shows how we can discover details of our shared pre-history ¿ the time before writing. It is certainly fascinating to delve into the unknown. Evidence abounds because the past has imprinted itself upon the present. Thus one route is certainly through scant palaeological records. Yet our minds and bodies are themselves hosts to alternative windows on the past. Thus clues to our past are buried in our genes, our languages, our anatomy, our physiology and our cultures. This book takes us through the inferences we can draw from each strand of evidence. Indeed we can even calculate the statistical reliability of many individual conclusions. Naturally all conclusions hold speculations. Nonetheless the consistency of evidence from a range of independent sources gives us confidence in the generalities of the emerging picture. As one might expect, this story has many lessons for the present and our anticipated future. Thus Cavelli-Svorza contextualizes the superficiality of race, the impacts of technological innovation, the progress of cultural interactions, and the tragedy of ignorance.
Very well researched and insightful, except for the language section which embraces all kinds of proposed superfamilies roundly rejected by the majority of linguists.
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza answers questions that has had man wondering since time immemorial. A classic research into the human dispersion, starting from the first appearance of Homo-Sapiens to today's wide variety of races and peoples. First the author illustrates the findings of a more authoratative research technique of comparing genes of different peoples, and estimating the 'distance' between peoples. Later on, he uses other, rather subjective techniques to demonstrate how the results of the genetic comparison can be substantiated. With an interest in anthropology and linguistics, and having read a few books in this area, I found this book a great source of information. Very concisely written, yet touching on all major topics within the scope. A good book to read on a Sunday afternoon, but can be dissappointing if you expect it to be an encyclopedia. One can also notice the author's stance against racism, especially given the author's exposure to scientific research on various races and their differences.