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The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution

The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution
Author: Gregory Cochran - Henry Harpending
ISBN 13: 9780465020423
ISBN 10: 465020429
Edition: First Trade Paper Edition
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: 2010-10-19
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
List Price: $16.95

Two leading researchers make the controversial argument that our species is still measurably evolving in important ways—in fact, faster than ever before.

Publishers Weekly

Arguing that human genetic evolution is still ongoing, physicist-turned-evolutionary biologist Cochran and anthropologist Harpending marshal evidence for dramatic genetic change in the (geologically) recent past, particularly since the invention of agriculture. Unfortunately, much of their argument-including the origin of modern humans, agriculture, and Indo-Europeans-tends to neglect archaeological and geological evidence; readers should keep in mind that assumed time frames, like the age of the human species, are minimums at best and serious underestimates at worst. That said, there is much here to recommend, including the authors' unique approach to the question of modern human-Neanderthal interbreeding, and their discussion of the genetic pressures on Ashkenazi Jews over the past 1,000 years, both based solidly in fact. They also provide clear explanations for tricky concepts like gene flow and haplotypes, and their arguments are intriguing throughout. Though lapses in their case won't be obvious to the untrained eye, it's clear that this lively, informative text is not meant to deceive (abundant references and a glossary also help) but to provoke thought, debate and possibly wonder.
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