The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction

by Pat Shipman


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The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction by Pat Shipman

With their large brains, sturdy physique, sophisticated tools, and hunting skills, Neanderthals are the closest known relatives to humans. Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe—descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?

The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals’ demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, which predicts that the species ecologically closest to the invasive predator will face the greatest competition, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals’ geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity.

But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans’ partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals—a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674975415
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 05/15/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 251,180
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Pat Shipman is an anthropologist and a retired adjunct professor of anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of several books, including The Animal Connection, The Man Who Found the Missing Link, and Taking Wing, which won the Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Donna Postel is fascinated by all kinds of stories and loves telling them. From memoir and biography to literary fiction, romance, mystery, and suspense, Donna uses her innate curiosity, talent, and decades of experience on stage and in the recording studio to bring books to life.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 And He Is Us 1

2 Here We Come, Ready or Not 9

3 Time Is of the Essence 31

4 Who Wins in an Invasion? 45

5 How Do You Know What You Think You Know? 61

6 What's for Dinner? 70

7 What Does an Invasion Look Like? 88

8 Going, Going, Gone … 106

9 Guess Who Else Is Coming to Dinner? 120

10 Bearing Up under Competition Pressure 143

11 The Jagger Principle 156

12 Dogged 167

13 Why Dogs? 194

14 When Is a Wolf Not a Wolf? 214

15 What Happened and Why 226

Notes 235

Credits 259

Index 263

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