The Improbable Primate

The Improbable Primate

How Water Shaped Human Evolution

Book - 2014
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In The Improbable Primate, Clive Finlayson takes an ecological approach to our evolution, considering the origins of modern humans within the context of a drying climate and changing landscapes. Finlayson argues that environmental change, particularly availability of water, played a critical role in shaping the direction of human evolution, contributing to our spread and success. He asserts that our ancestors carved a niche for themselves by leaving the forest and forcing their way into a long-established community of carnivores in a tropical savannah as climate changes opened up the landscape. They took their chance at high noon, when most other predators were asleep. Adapting to this new lifestyle by shedding their hair and developing an active sweating system to keep cool, being close to fresh water was vital. As the climate dried, our ancestors, already bipedal, became taller and slimmer, more adept at travelling farther in search of water. The challenges of seeking water in a drying landscape moulded the minds and bodies of early humans, and directed their migrations and eventual settlements.
Publisher: Oxford, United Kingdom : Oxford University Press, 2014
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780199658794
Branch Call Number: 569.97 F4965I 2014
Characteristics: xix, 202 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm


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May 10, 2015

Interesting ideas, but the author's writing isn't quite strong enough to convey them easily.


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