Am höchsten bewertete positive Rezension
5 Personen fanden diese Informationen hilfreich
a concise population history of our species
am 15. Juni 2000
In a book notable for its accessibility to non-specialists, Cavalli-Sforza presents a concise overview of the history of our species. He relies first and foremost on relationships among aboriginal populations that he has been instrumental in delineating through molecular analyses (e.g. use of blood groups and more recently other systems such as microsatellites). He also relies on archeological and linguistic evidence as independent lines of evidence. The attempt at synthesis of these varied lines of evidence is admirable. A few figures--one displaying early human migration and another geographical distributions of 17 linguistic families--show some of the key population movements described in the text. I wish there were more of these kinds of summary figures. The book succeeds in clearly explaining concepts such as genetic drift and the utility of different genetic systems for understanding human evolution (e.g.Y chromosome variations help us understand male histories and mitochondrial DNA female histories in particular). It also contains a chapter on language evolution that contrasts principles of linguistic evolution with genetic evolution, and a final chapter on cultural evolution. Overall, this book contains a good, concise, synthetic account of the history of modern humans, beginning with our origins in Africa 100,000-200,000 years ago, and migrating to different parts of the world since and at different times. Much of the work appears to build on a more technical 1994 work: History and Geography of Human Genes, perhaps a more suitable reference for those with more background on these topics. The book could have been improved with more graphical depictions of the population movements discussed, as well as by pictures of major and frequently mentioned aboriginal populations such as the Saami (or Lapplanders).