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Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors von [Wade, Nicholas]
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Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors Kindle Edition

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From Publishers Weekly

Scientists are using DNA analysis to understand our prehistory: the evolution of humans; their relation to the Neanderthals, who populated Europe and the Near East; and Homo erectus, who roamed the steppes of Asia. Most importantly, geneticists can trace the movements of a little band of human ancestors, numbering perhaps no more than 150, who crossed the Red Sea from east Africa about 50,000 years ago. Within a few thousand years, their descendents, Homo sapiens, became masters of all they surveyed, the other humanoid species having become extinct. According to New York Times science reporter Wade, this DNA analysis shows that evolution isn't restricted to the distant past: Iceland has been settled for only 1,000 years, but the inhabitants have already developed distinctive genetic traits. Wade expands his survey to cover the development of language and the domestication of man's best friend. And while "race" is often a dirty word in science, one of the book's best chapters shows how racial differences can be marked genetically and why this is important, not least for the treatment of diseases. This is highly recommended for readers interested in how DNA analysis is rewriting the history of mankind. Maps. (Apr. 24)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Genetics has been intruding on human origins research, long the domain of archaeology and paleoanthropology. Veteran science journalist Wade applies the insights of genetics to every intriguing question about the appearance and global dispersal of our species. The result is Wade's recounting of "a new narrative," which also has elements of a turf war between geneticists and their established colleagues. He efficiently explains how an evolutionary event (e.g., hairlessness) is recorded in DNA, and how rates of mutation can set boundary dates for it. For the story, Wade opens with a geneticist's estimate that modern (distinct from "archaic") Homo sapiens arose in northeast Africa 59,000 years ago, with a tiny population of only a few thousand, and was homogenous in appearance and language. Tracking the ensuing expansion and evolutionary pressures on humans, Wade covers the genetic evidence bearing on Neanderthals, race, language, social behaviors such as male-female pair bonding, and cultural practices such as religion. Wade presents the science skillfully, with detail and complexity and without compromising clarity. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2906 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 332 Seiten
  • Verlag: Penguin Books (27. März 2007)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B000PDYVRA
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
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  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen 3 Kundenrezensionen
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #396.821 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Format: Taschenbuch
History can be a very fascinating subject, and one can easily spend a whole lifetime exploring different historical periods and events. However, the recorded history can take us back only to roughly the beginning of the fourth millennium BC. Most of human history lies well before that date, and it has long been supposed that we'll never get a complete picture of the earliest epochs of our species. That is still the case insofar as particular events and individuals are concerned, but in recent years we've been getting an increasingly detailed and fascinating picture of that "pre-historic" age. A variety of new research techniques and tools have come of age, and they are employed to shed more and more light on pre-historic events from a variety of different angles. Evolutionary psychology, DNA analysis, and linguistic analysis are some of the tools that have augmented our knowledge of the past as they have gone well beyond what we've been able to glean from just archeology. All of these tools and the remarkable discoveries that they elicited are described in "Before the Dawn." The book reads like a cross between a popular science book and a historical novel. At every turn of page there is a new twist to the story, and some of the insights are quite remarkable and unexpected. On an occasion one gets a sense that some of the tales have been oversold as compared to the available evidence, but overall the book is based on solid scholarship and multiple sources of evidence that mutually support the same conclusions. If you are interested in the early human history, I could not recommend a better book to read as an introduction to this exciting subject that promises to reveal even more surprising insights in the upcoming decades.
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Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Nicholas Wade - Before the dawn - Recovering the lost history of our ancestors

Über fünf Millionen Jahre sind vergangen, seit sich die Linie der Menschen von den Menschenaffen abgezweigt hat. Und dennoch gelingt es Forschern immer noch, anhand von kleinsten Hinweisen, das Leben zur damaligen Zeit zu rekonstruieren. Wie in so vielen Bereichen der Wissenschaft, drängt nun auch in diesem die Gentechnik nach vorne. Anhand von genetischen Methoden ist es möglich, aus winzigen Funden, wie einem Splitter eines Knochens, eine große Menge an Informationen zu gewinnen. In seinem neusten Buch, 'Before the dawn', zeigt Journalist und Autor Nicholas Wade, was uns die Genetik über die Entstehung der Menschheit verraten kann.

Nicholas Wade schreibt als Autor und Journalist für verschiedene wissenschaftliche Fachzeitschriften, und veröffentlicht populärwissenschaftliche Bücher.

Das Buch ist in 12 Unterkapitel gegliedert, die sich verschiedenen Aspekten der menschlichen Entwicklung widmen. Zunächst wird erklärt, inwiefern die Genetik helfen kann, etwas über die Geschichte zu lernen. Dann wird die Trennung von Menschen und Menschenaffen erklärt. Im Folgenden wird die Entstehung der Sprache, die Migration der Menschen von Afrika in den Rest der Welt, der Wandel von Jäger und Sammlergesellschaften zu festen Siedlungen, die Entstehung von sozialen Gesellschaften und verschiedenen Rassen geschildert. Das abschließende Kapitel widmet sich dem Thema der Evolution.
Es ist immer wieder erstaunlich, wie viele, genaue Informationen auch nach Millionen von Jahren noch gewonnen werden können. Und ebenso erstaunlich sind manchmal die Ideen, auf die Wissenschaftler kommen, um Fragen zu beantworten.
Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Es ist spannend begründet zu sehen, dass sich die Menschheit, wie sie heute existiert, erst in den letzten 50 000 und vor allem in den letzten 15 000 Jahren entwickelt hat. Das Buch sollte unbedingt ins Deutsche übersetzt werden.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen 251 Rezensionen
478 von 496 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The Dawn of New Knowledge: Fascinating, But Bound to Be Controversial 1. Mai 2006
Von William Holmes - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Before the Dawn" is a very well written survey of what genetics can teach us about the origin and evolution of the human species. Starting with the common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees 5 million years ago, Wade explores the latest theories about the development of the "hominid" line and explains why homo sapiens evolved differently from our cousins, the chimpanzees and the bonobos.

Most of the books about human origins tend to focus on paleoanthropology and related disciplines. "Before the Dawn" does a great job of synthesizing the discoveries of paleoanthropolgists with the findings of geneticists--in some cases, examination of human DNA has confirmed what paleoanthropolgists have long believed, in others it has raised new and sometimes disturbing questions.

Without becoming overly technical, Wade explains how scientists use the study of DNA to determine when signficant events occurred in human evolution--for example, when humans began to use fully modern language (about 50,000 years ago), the size of the ancestral population of modern humans (as small as 150 people), or when the ancestral population left the African continent (also around 50,000 years ago).

Some of Wade's observations may surprise and trouble many people. Creationists will not be pleased with the book's basic view that Darwin's theory of natural selection is absolutely correct and that it applies to people as well as animals. Others will be troubled by the ideas that our DNA contains evidence that our ancestors practiced cannibalism; that homo sapiens wiped out the Neanderthal and Homo ergaster populations in genocidal warfare that spanned millenia; that hunting and gathering societies are much more warlike than modern, settled ones; that our DNA suggests that humans became more sociable and less violent roughly 15,000 years ago, finally enabling human societies to settle down and begin farming; that human evolution did not stop 10,000 or 50,000 years ago as some have argued, but that it continues down to the present day and will continue into the future (either naturally or artificially); that in rare cases, unusual selection pressures have produced populations that, on average, are either more intelligent or more physcially capable in certain respects than others. Wade handles each of these delicate propositions with care, but some will be disturbed by the implications of what he is saying. (Perhaps that's why E.O. Wilson, in the blurb on the back of the book, praised Wade's "courage and balance.")

"Before the Dawn" is a superb survey of what scientists know (or think they know) about human origins in 2006. But this is a report from the cutting edge of genetics and paleoanthropology, so stay tuned for further developments. In the meantime, Wade's book is an excellent introduction to a new dawn of knowledge.
241 von 261 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen fascinating, meticulous and wide in scope 21. April 2006
Von David Fernandez - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
I liked this book a lot. The material is complicated, but familiar at the same time. When I thought about it, I found that I had a number of ingrained notions about ancient human life. I had a picture in my mind of a relatively peaceful caveman, the same one from grade school textbooks and the natural history museum- I had never really thought about ancient human history, or what humanity's predecessors might have been like. This book examines those points in depth- how our ancestors might have walked, made tools, begun to speak, and spread across the world. A main point of this book is that scientists' growing understanding of the information encoded in DNA, along with integrating information from other disciplines, can provide a window into human history we have never had before.

The breadth of disciplines that apply to this topic are amazing, encompassing history, biology, primatology, archaeology, linguistics, paleontology, sociology, behavioral science, and many others- it was enjoyable to learn about different fields of normally esoteric knowledge from someone who can explain it all clearly and interestingly. And delicately- for example, the chapter on race is an artful discussion of the new questions we can ask about race and evolution with DNA, describing with precision what sort of meaningful things can and cannot be said about race from a biological standpoint, versus a sociological one.

This book is reminiscent in some respects to Guns, Germs, and Steel, another book looking at humans from a more biology-focused perspective (in fact, Mr. Wade addresses a couple of claims made in it), and people who liked that book would almost certainly enjoy this one. This book is similarly broad in scope, yet surprisingly concise, which I suppose might be expected from a journalist. Anyway, it is a well-written, fun and interesting book, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in science in general and human history and biology in particular-
75 von 78 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Evolution is alive and well, and dwelling among humans 26. Mai 2006
Von Graham H. Seibert - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
The science of DNA analysis has progressed with amazing rapidity over the last decade, confirming, correcting and filling in the details outlined by pioneers in human migration such as Stanford's Luigi Cavalli-Sforza. The most powerful tools at the moment are analysis of the Y-chromosome, which is heritable only from the father, and mitochondrial DNA, heritable from the mother. Both are subject to small mutations from generation to generation. The time at which populations quit interbreeding can be fairly accurately determined by which mutations they share and which they don't. Scientist Spenser Wells' "The Journey of Man" does an excellent job of describing the science. Wade does so with fewer words and less depth, and brings Wells' work up to date. Wells thought Europeans and East Asians parted company in the heart of the Russian steppes; Wade has Europe being populated by a more southerly route.

Wade's human timeline has us becoming "anatomically modern" 100,000 years ago, acquiring language sometime thereafter, with a pioneer group of 150 or so individuals emigrating out of Africa to displace Neanderthals and other archaic humans around 50,000 years ago. These timelines are later than other writers have posited. It raises the question, what is language? Wade sees it as the essential tool for communicating culture: the acquired knowledge, toolmaking skills, religion and social skills that made it possible for humankind to transcend the hunter-gatherer style of life.

His discussion of linguistic paleontology, and its ties with paleoanthropology, the ways in which people and languages moved and morphed, shows the benefit of coming at a problem from several angles. Languages evolve rapidly. Wade retraces the established schools of thought on linguistics, the work done on the evolution of Indo-European languages, and some more controversial theories that examine commonalities among all the world's languages and attempt to establish the dates at which language groups diverged. The tool of choice is Bayesian Maximum Likelihood Estimation statistics, a technique that examines every possible way a group of events could be assembled to meet some given constraints (i.e., Japanese and Chinese had to have split after man left Africa; man was in the Americas by 12,000 BC; the root of the word "one" remains the same in a language for an average of 20,000 years) and finds the most likely scenario that fits, or rather, requires the least compromise to fit all of the data points... a technique that has blossomed with the availability of powerful desktop computers over the past decade.

Though he quotes Stephen Pinker throughout, Wade does not get into the neural wiring required for language, the stuff of Pinker's "The Language Instinct" and "The Blank Slate." Given the complexity of the human language apparatus, I am confident there was a lot going on with language earlier than Wade would have us believe. Other surprising omissions from Wade's bibliography are Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett on evolution in general and Sarah Blaffer Hrdy on human motherhood. Conversely, he seems to lean disproportionately on other authors such as Joseph Greenberg. These imbalances do not seem to bias the work, but their inclusions would make it richer.

Give Wade credit for courage. To acknowledge that Darwinian selection has continued unabated, even increased, since the advent of agriculture is tempting the demons of political correctness. Wade out and says it: high levels of abstract intelligence would not have enjoyed selective advantage in hunter-gatherer societies. In large communities, however, the abilities to manage stored riches and to focus the labor of many individuals on community projects became essential. His most interesting case is of the Jews, citing some work published late last year. Ashkenazi Jews were forbidden to own property for roughly the eight centuries between 900 and 1700. They had to make their living as merchants, moneylenders and other types of professionals, occupations that demanded very high brainpower. To an even greater extent than others in Europe, they endured ongoing persecution. See Wikipedia's Timeline of Jewish History. Wade cites two researchers at BYU who have a compelling thesis that four sphingolipid genetic diseases suffered by the Ashkenazim, while fatal to individuals who inherit two recessive genes, confer higher intelligence on those who inherit just one. The scientific community has been harsh on previous writers such as Jensen and Lynn, Murray and Herrnstein who have dared associate cognition with race or ethnicity. Cavalli-Sforza and others spent careers dancing around the issue, and Pinker himself has dodged it with exquisite delicacy. That Wade writes so directly is a sign perhaps not that the topic has become respectable, but simply that the elephant in the living room can no longer be ignored.
96 von 105 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Wow, a great read 21. April 2006
Von Robert Busko - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For those of us science junkies Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade is a wonderful fix. Wade does a masterful job at making the science easy to understand and "wows" the reader with terrific examples at how modern genetic research is lifting the curtain on human history.

Wade links together diverse areas in his discussion of modern genetics. Language development is an interesting example, but he also looks at how the scientific evidence is also shedding new light on to areas of human development such as social behavior, and even ideas about the rise of religion, and also includes an interesting discussion of racism.

Organized in a logical manner with interesting chapters, Wade also includes great notes. At 320 pages the book is easily a weekend read and would be a great companion at the beach. Some of his conclusions will raise the ire of some readers, but Before the Dawn is a must read for those who want to stay on top of whats happening in human research.

Perhaps most refreshing of all is the application of genetics research to a topic of great interest and importance of all of humankind. Genetics in Before the Dawn isn't a punch line in some television show but hard science.

I highly recommend this book.
59 von 64 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Fascinating and frustrating 9. Juli 2006
Von Richard Stauduhar - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
In the last few decades DNA analysis has provided much new information about the evolution and early history of humankind. Wade's book tells the story of this new science in fascinating detail. Archeological evidence has suggested that modern humans began their spread across the world roughly 50,000 years ago. DNA studies confirm this view, and also tell something about where the spread began, in northeastern Africa, and the path and progress of the spread into Eurasia, Australia, and ultimately into the Americas. Moreover, these studies of mitochondrial DNA and the DNA of the Y chromosome among present day peoples suggest that the world outside Africa was settled by the descendants of a single band of a few hundred people. All this is endlessly interesting.

The frustrations of this book come when the author seems to take the facts presented and use them to draw conclusions that stretch logic past the breaking point, or worse, to make assertions unsupported by any reasoning at all. Examples are myriad; I will mention one of each kind.

In the early part of the 20th century a prion disease decimated the population of a certain New Guinea tribe. It was discovered that the disease was spread by a ritual cannibalistic practice, but some members of the tribe were found to be immune, and a genetic basic for their immunity was determined. It was later found that many Northern Europeans had the same genetic immunity. Wade thinks this proves Northern Europeans must at one time have practiced cannibalism. But in fact it proves no such thing. Early Northern Europeans depended on herd animals for meat, and many herd animals are subject to prion diseases. A sustained outbreak among, e.g., reindeer, might have induced the immunity.

An example of the second kind occurs when Wade discusses religion. Wade makes the bald assertion, "Religion began as a mechanism for a community to exclude those who could not be trusted." I have read many explanations for the origin of religion, but never one asserted with more confidence, or less plausibility. There is not the slightest evidence for this proposal, and none is given.

In short, this book sets out a mixture of wonderfully interesting scientific discoveries, and irritating authorial pronunciamentos. If you can tell the difference it's well worth reading.
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