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Reviewing the book in The Washington Post, evolutionary anthropologist Avi Tuschman points out problems stemming from the contradiction between Harari's "freethinking scientific mind" and his "fuzzier worldview hobbled by political correctness", but nonetheless wrote that "Harari's book is important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens."
Seventy thousand years ago, there were at least six different human species on earth. They were insignificant animals, whose ecological impact was less than that of fireflies or jellyfish. Today, there is only one human species left: Us. Homo sapiens. But we rule this planet.
The species that you and all other living human beings on this planet belong to is Homo sapiens. During a time of dramatic climate change 300,000 years ago, Homo sapiens evolved in Africa. Like other early humans that were living at this time, they gathered and hunted food, and evolved behaviors that helped them respond to the challenges of survival in unstable environments.
Prehistoric Homo sapiens not only made and used stone tools, they also specialized them and made a variety of smaller, more complex, refined and specialized tools including composite stone tools, fishhooks and harpoons, bows and arrows, spear throwers and sewing needles.
The human remains and stone tools found at the site are between 350,000 and 280,000 years old. This new fossil evidence pushes back the earliest examples we have of the Homo sapiens lineage by more than 100,000 years.
Museum human origins expert Prof Chris Stringer comments: 'These finds currently represent the oldest association of probable early members of the Homo sapiens lineage and Middle Stone Age tools. They shift Morocco from a supposed backwater in the evolution of our species to a prominent position.'
Comparison of skull shapes of (a) an early Neanderthal skull found in Sima de los Huesos, Spain, which is around 430,000 years old, (b) a late Neanderthal skull from La Ferrassie, France, which is approximately 60,000-40,000 years old, (c) a Jebel Irhoud fossil and (d) an approximately 20,000-year-old Homo sapiens fossil from Abri Pataud, France. All the specimens shown are replicas.
The researchers compared the shape of the Irhoud fossil skull faces with a range of early and recent human relatives, such as Neanderthals. Their study showed that facially, the Irhoud specimens were most similar to modern Homo sapiens.
No-one knows exactly when Homo sapiens evolved in Africa from ancestral humans within the genus Homo. However, current evidence from both fossils and DNA, says Prof Stringer, suggests that modern human and Neanderthal lineages separated at least 500,000 years ago. We should therefore be able to discover early examples of both lineages.
Prof Stringer thinks that other fossil discoveries may also need to be looked at again. He says, 'It is possible that earlier and neglected fossils from sites such as the Salé and Thomas Quarries in Morocco, and Ndutu in Tanzania, could be even more ancient members of our species, Homo sapiens.'
How the Irhoud material fits into the bigger picture of Homo sapiens development in Africa is not yet clear, he says, but it adds to the complex picture of different human forms and lineages co-existing on the continent.
Prof Stringer adds, 'It is likely that different early Homo sapiens populations already existed in different parts of Africa about 300,000 years ago, as well as surviving examples of the more ancient lineages of Homo heidelbergensis (also classified by some as Homo rhodesiensis) in Central Africa and Homo naledi in the South.
Carl Linnaeus, born 312 years ago today, was a Swedish biologist and physician who is known for the invention of Latin binomial nomenclature, popularly known as scientific names. This system amounts to a method for organizing and classifying plant and animal species. To bring his work home to us in a personal way, Linnaeus was the person who first classified you, me, and all of humankind as the genus and species, Homo sapiens.
A compelling read that looks at the triumphs and endurability of homo sapiens through the lens of both history and science. Harari offers insight into the constant evolution of humanity and what the future could possibly look like for homo sapiens.
Born in Haifa, Israel, in 1976, Harari received his PhD from the University of Oxford in 2002, and is currently a lecturer at the Department of History, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He originally specialized in world history, medieval history and military history, and his current research focuses on macro-historical questions such as: What is the relationship between history and biology What is the essential difference between Homo sapiens and other animals Is there justice in history Does history have a direction Did people become happier as history unfolded What ethical questions do science and technology raise in the 21st century
In this sweeping look at the history of humans, Harari offers readers the chance to reconsider, well, everything, from a look at why Homo sapiens endured to a compelling discussion of how society organizes itself through fictions.
"[I]nteresting and provocative...It gives you a sense of perspective on how briefly we've been on this earth, how short things like agriculture and science have been around, and why it makes sense for us to not take them for granted."--President Barack Obama"I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a fun, engaging look at early human history...you'll have a hard time putting it down."--Bill Gates"Thank God someone finally wrote [this] exact book."--Sebastian Junger"Sapiens takes readers on a sweeping tour of the history of our species.... Harari's formidable intellect sheds light on the biggest breakthroughs in the human story...important reading for serious-minded, self-reflective sapiens."--Washington Post"It is one of the best accounts by a Homo sapiens of the unlikely story of our violent, accomplished species....It is one hell of a story. And it has seldom been told better.... Compulsively readable and impossibly learned."--Michael Gerson, Washington Post"This was the most surprising and thought-provoking book I read this year."--Atlantic.com"Yuval Noah Harari's full-throated review of our species may have been blurbed by Jared Diamond, but Harari's conclusions are at once balder and less tendentious than that of his famous colleague."--New York magazine"This title is one of the exceptional works of nonfiction that is both highly intellectual and compulsively readable... a fascinating, hearty read."--Library Journal (starred review)"An encyclopedic approach from a well-versed scholar who is concise but eloquent, both skeptical and opinionated, and open enough to entertain competing points of view....The great debates of history aired out with satisfying vigor."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Writing with wit and verve, Harari...attempts to explain how Homo sapiens came to be the dominant species on Earth as well as the sole representative of the human genus.... Provocative and entertaining."--Publishers Weekly"The most idea-packed work of non-fiction I've read in years."--Dick Meyer, www.abcactionnews.com"In this sweeping look at the history of humans, Harari offers readers the chance to reconsider, well, everything, from a look at why Homo sapiens endured to a compelling discussion of how society organizes itself through fictions."--Booklist Best Books of the Year"It's not often that a book offers readers the possibility to reconsider, well, everything. But that's what Harari does in this sweeping look at the history of humans.... Readers of every stripe should put this at the top of their reading lists. Thinking has never been so enjoyable."--Booklist (starred review)"The sort of book that sweeps the cobwebs out of your brain.... Harari...is an intellectual acrobat whose logical leaps will have you gasping with admiration."--John Carey, Sunday Times (London)"Harari's account of how we conquered the Earth astonishes with its scope and imagination.... One of those rare books that lives up to the publisher's blurb...brilliantly clear, witty and erudite."--Ben Shepard, the Observer (London)"An absorbing, provocative history of civilization...packed with heretical thinking and surprising facts. This riveting, myth-busting book cannot be summarised...you will simply have to read it."--John Gray, Financial Times (London)"Full of...high-perspective, shocking and wondrous stories, as well as strange theories and startling insights."--Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times"Not only is Harari eloquent and humane, he is often wonderfully, mordantly funny"--The Independent (London)"Engaging and informative.... Extremely interesting."--Guardian (London)"Harari can write...really, really write, with wit, clarity, elegance, and a wonderful eye for metaphor."--The Times (Ireland)
Through his pioneering research, Svante Pääbo accomplished something seemingly impossible: sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans. He also made the sensational discovery of a previously unknown hominin, Denisova. Importantly, Pääbo also found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens following the migration out of Africa around 70,000 years ago. This ancient flow of genes to present-day humans has physiological relevance today, for example affecting how our immune system reacts to infections.
As analyses of the small mitochondrial genome gave only limited information, Pääbo now took on the enormous challenge of sequencing the Neanderthal nuclear genome. At this time, he was offered the chance to establish a Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. At the new Institute, Pääbo and his team steadily improved the methods to isolate and analyze DNA from archaic bone remains. The research team exploited new technical developments, which made sequencing of DNA highly efficient. Pääbo also engaged several critical collaborators with expertise on population genetics and advanced sequence analyses. His efforts were successful. Pääbo accomplished the seemingly impossible and could publish the first Neanderthal genome sequence in 2010. Comparative analyses demonstrated that the most recent common ancestor of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens lived around 800,000 years ago. 59ce067264