OVERRIDE

Lone Survivors

How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth

Chris Stringer

Times Books

A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be

In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies.

Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved.

Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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1

The Big Questions
 

It is barely 150 years since Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace presented their ideas on evolution to the world. A year later, in 1859, Darwin was to publish one of the most famous of all books, On the Origin of Species. Then, the first fossil human finds were only beginning to be recognized, and paleontology and archaeology were still in their infancy. Now, there is a rich and ever-growing record from Africa, Asia, and Europe, and I have been privileged to work in one of the most exciting eras for discoveries about our origins. There have been
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MEDIA

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  • Chris Stringer Interviewed on The Takeaway.

    Chris Stringer discusses Lone Survivors on The Takeaway.

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REVIEWS

Praise for Lone Survivors

"If you want an engaging read about the Out of Africa theory for modern humans, Lone Survivors by paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer is for you. Stringer's stimulating writing will carry you from the beginning to the end of this important book."
—Don Johanson, Founding Director, Institute of Human Origins Arizona State University

"Lone Survivors is a magnificent achievement: rich, informative, and comprehensive. Simply the best book on current state-of-the-art human evolutionary studies I have read. I recommend it as the first step for anyone entering this field--and for those who have already taken their first steps, it provides the overview we would all like to have. The book makes a messy field neat and much easier to navigate in. Bravo!"
—Peter C. Kjaergaard, Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark

"Stringer points out that most scientists agree that our first hominid ancestors appeared in Africa 5 million years ago; many species evolved, and a few wandered north about 2 million years ago. Where Homo sapiens originated and how it came out on top remains a matter of intense debate, but Stringer marshals the latest evidence and concludes that his own opinion is correct: Modern humans appeared in a small area of Africa about 200,000 years ago and then moved across the world exchanging genes, tools and behavior with rival human species before supplanting them. Besides trying to make sense of headline-producing fossil and archeological discoveries, the author explains dazzling advances that have solved many problems: precise techniques for dating, DNA studies, isotope analysis to determine an ancient species' diet and travels, CT scans to reveal hidden and even microscopic details and geometric morphometrics and stereolithography to re-create, manipulate and compare skulls and other structures."—Kirkus

"Famed paleoanthropologist Stringer once challenged multiregionalists (who argue that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) by proposing that humans emerged rapidly in one part of Africa and then went forth to replace all other hominid species. Now he challenges himself, using new evidence to proclaim that distinct humans coexisted, competed, and even interbred throughout the African continent. "—Library Journal

"Stringer explores  . . . the major trends in human evolutionary theory since Darwin’s time, following the pendulum of scientific opinion as it swings from multiregionalism—the idea that humans evolved through various phases around the globe, with no place serving as a particular origin—to recent African origin theory, and back. Though a prominent out of Africa proponent, Stringer refines his earlier ideas, still focusing on an African beginning, but investigating the possibility that humans interbred with Neanderthals and other ancient humans. The book digs into fossil finds, advanced dating methods, and genetic tools, and shows how experts can deduce so much about our millennia-dead ancestors."—Publishers Weekly

"If you want an engaging read about the Out of Africa theory for modern humans, Lone Survivors by paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer is for you. Stringer's stimulating writing will carry you from the beginning to the end of this important book."
—Don Johanson, Founding Director, Institute of Human Origins Arizona State University

"Lone Survivors is a magnificent achievement: rich, informative, and comprehensive. Simply the best book on current state-of-the-art human evolutionary studies I have read. I recommend it as the first step for anyone entering this field--and for those who have already taken their first steps, it provides the overview we would all like to have. The book makes a messy field neat and much easier to navigate in. Bravo!"
—Peter C. Kjaergaard, Professor and Director of Interdisciplinary Evolutionary Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark

"Stringer points out that most scientists agree that our first hominid ancestors appeared in Africa 5 million years ago; many species evolved, and a few wandered north about 2 million years ago. Where Homo sapiens originated and how it came out on top remains a matter of intense debate, but Stringer marshals the latest evidence and concludes that his own opinion is correct: Modern humans appeared in a small area of Africa about 200,000 years ago and then moved across the world exchanging genes, tools and behavior with rival human species before supplanting them. Besides trying to make sense of headline-producing fossil and archeological discoveries, the author explains dazzling advances that have solved many problems: precise techniques for dating, DNA studies, isotope analysis to determine an ancient species' diet and travels, CT scans to reveal hidden and even microscopic details and geometric morphometrics and stereolithography to re-create, manipulate and compare skulls and other structures."—Kirkus

"Famed paleoanthropologist Stringer once challenged multiregionalists (who argue that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) by proposing that humans emerged rapidly in one part of Africa and then went forth to replace all other hominid species. Now he challenges himself, using new evidence to proclaim that distinct humans coexisted, competed, and even interbred throughout the African continent. "—Library Journal

"Stringer explores  . . . the major trends in human evolutionary theory since Darwin’s time, following the pendulum of scientific opinion as it swings from multiregionalism—the idea that humans evolved through various phases around the globe, with no place serving as a particular origin—to recent African origin theory, and back. Though a prominent out of Africa proponent, Stringer refines his earlier ideas, still focusing on an African beginning, but investigating the possibility that humans interbred with Neanderthals and other ancient humans. The book digs into fossil finds, advanced dating methods, and genetic tools, and shows how experts can deduce so much about our millennia-dead ancestors."—Publishers Weekly

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Chris Stringer

  • Chris Stringer is the author of The Complete World of Human Evolution, Homo britannicus, and more than two hundred books and papers on the subject of human evolution. One of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists, he is a researcher at the Natural History Museum in London and a Fellow of the Royal Society. He has three children and lives in Sussex and London.

  • Chris Stringer Natural History Museum London
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Available Formats and Book Details

Lone Survivors

How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth

Chris Stringer

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Times Books

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