Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book review - Evolution related

Mapping Human History by Steve Olson: This book is an interesting read on evolution, with a boat load of facts, and tries to establish that race is a superficial difference and we are all not too different as a species. I knew about the Mitochondrial Eve, the woman in Africa from whom all of us come from, but I learned there is also an Adam, the dad from whom all of us imen inherit the Y-chromosome. However, the book says Adam & Eve lived at different times, and some 80,000 people are the ancestors for all the human population today. It also talks about Neandertals (old men who lived in the Neuman or New man valley!) who eventually became extinct. As well it covers widely across the world, talking about even a small Israeli community that has married within for centuries, where Aunt & Niece look identical! The author keeps our attention with catchy write-up (he says both media and evolution scientists are interested in finding about sex, violence that happened!), but perhaps, there is a way to cover the facts in a more concise way.

Complete World of Human Evolution by Chris Stringer & Peter Andrews. The authors are distinguished in the field of evolution, and bring to bear their over 30 years of experience to teach all the new learnings that have happened in the recent times. It has an academic rigor, but is full of good pictures, so it is easy to visualize and understand the science. Something that interested me was that it was 70,000 years ago that humans first entered north-west part of India, and maybe 35,000 years ago started pushing into other parts of India. I think some bit of evolution must be taught in schools, given we have come far along. It will go a long way to deal with conflicts among human beings - there has to be some goodness when we learn we are descendants of one ancestor.

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