- Taschenbuch: 288 Seiten
- Verlag: Penguin; Auflage: New Ed (29. Mai 2003)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0141008326
- ISBN-13: 978-0141008325
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 2 x 19,8 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 2 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 1.015.227 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
- Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen
The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 29. Mai 2003
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Spencer Wells traces human evolution back to our very first ancestor in The Journey of Man. Along the way, he sums up the explosive effect of new techniques in genetics on the field of evolutionary biology and all available evidence from the fossil record. Wells's seemingly sexist title is purposeful: he argues that the Y chromosome gives us a unique opportunity to follow our migratory heritage back to a sort of Adam, just as earlier work in mitochondrial DNA allowed the identification of Eve, mother of all Homo sapiens. While his descriptions of the advances made by such luminary scientists as Richard Lewontin and Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza can be dry, Wells comes through with sparkling metaphors when it counts, as when he compares genetic drift to a bouillabaisse recipe handed down through a village's generations. Though finding our primal male is an exciting prospect, the real revolution Wells describes is racial. Or rather, nonracial, as he reiterates the scientific truth that our notions of what makes us different from each other are purely cultural, not based in biology. The case for an "out of Africa" scenario of human migration is solid in this book, though Wells makes it clear when he is hypothesizing anything controversial. Readers interested in a fairly technical, but not overwhelming, summary of the remarkable conclusions of 21st-century human evolutionary biology will find The Journey of Man a perfect primer. --Therese Littleton -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
“Written with much verve, easy to read, and up-to-date on many important developments.”
—Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Stanford University, author of The History and Geography of Human Genes and Genes, Peoples, and Languages
"Spencer Wells, whose genetic work has contributed to our understanding of human prehistory, has provided an account of the spread and mixing of the human species from its origin in Africa that is both scientifically accurate and accessible to the nonscientist.”
—Richard Lewontin, Harvard University, author of It Ain’t Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions
“Wells traces our distant history with a mix of clarity and charm that’s rare among scientists. He makes the complexities of population genetics wonderfully clear.”
—The New York Times Book Review
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Taschenbuch.
The exposition is precise, but easily understandable to the layman. Nowhere in any history book could I find such a complete account of middle palaeolithic population movements.
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The technical aspects of DNA analysis are presented in an easily understandable manner. One does not need a PhD in biology to get this book.
The story is told straigthforwardly maybe too straightforward; for instance a friend had his DNA run to discover a significant contribution of African genes mixed in with his Irish ones. It turns out that during the 8th century the Vikings actually brought Africans to Ireland. This book seems to gloss over some of these events in order to keep the story clearer. I suspect that some controversies in the field are muted a bit; every scientific field has controversies.
The story of Kennebec man seems a little out of date, and that did make me wonder if there were other things that might need some updates.
Except for that minor warning, Spencer Wells has done a very great service to those of us who seek a clearer understanding of the details of how our species came to occupy all of Earth, after our very high-risk emergence from Eastern Africa about 60,000 years ago.
The importance Wells attributes to Darwinian thinking about the application to homo sapiens of variability and selection to our emergence and proliferation is profound. Two key points stand out with great clarity: the very small populations of homo sapiens that survived the hazards that their varied groups encountered, before the development of agriculture, and the very high mortality that prevailed among those groups which faced the hazards of their journeys.
It seems ironic now, when our human expansion and "conquest" of Earth raises serious doubts about our species' capacity to continue to survive, that there was so long a period when it seems remarkable that homo sapiens survived at all.
Bernard Z. Friedlander, PhD, Madison, WI
Some reviewers complain about the quality of the maps, in my paperback version they were all good, I had no problem reading them.
Nice primer into the field of genetic history, neither too scholarly nor too superficial. For me anyway, YMMV.
The small physical size of the paperback is convenient.
It's only useful as an introduction into the subject, not for indepth research.
It focuses almost exclusively on the Y chromosome data, little information from other sources is presented.
The names of the haplogroups are given as M168, M89, M9, M45 etc rather than the more familiar CT, F, K, P etc. The book offers no translation between the naming schemes. Wikipedia makes that translation easy, though.
Possibly the most important page is the map on page 182, it should have been at the very front, the whole book needs to be read with that map in mind.
On the balance, I find 4 stars to be right.