The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Hardcover – Jan 27 2009
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"Did human evolution come to a screeching halt fifty thousand years ago when Homo sapiens emerged from Africa, thus ensuring the psychic unity of mankind? Don't be silly, say the authors of this latest addition to the fast-emerging discipline of Biohistory. In clear prose backed by a wealth of hard data, Cochran and Harpending add a biological dimension to the history of our species, and hammer another nail into the coffin lid of 'nothing but culture' anthropology."
Bruce G. Charlton, MD; Professor of Theoretical Medicine, University of Buckingham, Editor in Chief of Medical Hypotheses
“The 10,000 Year Explosion offers scientists and historians a new and fertile direction for future research, and provides the general public with a better explanation of the past, present, and future of human beings....I was motivated to read the entire book in a single marathon session.”
John Hawks, author of Human Evolution
"For years, human geneticists have been uncovering a picture of human evolution. But now, Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending are encouraging us to 'fast forward' the discussion."
“A most intriguing deposition, without a trace of ethnic or racial advocacy, though directed against the proposition that ‘we’re all the same.’"
“There is much here to recommend… and their arguments are intriguing throughout…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.”
Wall Street Journal
“Important and fascinating…the provocative ideas in ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion’ must be taken seriously by anyone who wants to understand human origins and humanity's future.”
“The 10,000 Year Explosion would be important even if it were only about population genetics and evolutionary biology, but Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending…have written something more. This book is a manifesto for and an example of a new kind of history, a biological history, and not just of the prehistoric era.”
“The evidence the authors present builds an overwhelming case that natural selection has recently acted strongly on us and may be continuing unabated.”
Melvin Konner, MD, PhD, author of The Tangled Wing and The Jewish Body
“For generations, scientists have seen culture as slowing or halting evolution. In this lively and provocative book, Cochran and Harpending, interpreting recent genetic evidence, stick a stiff finger into the eye that holds that view. Their ideas will be intensely controversial, but they cannot be ignored."
About the Author
Gregory Cochran is a physicist and Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah. For many years, he worked on lasers and image enhancement in the field of aerospace. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Henry Harpending holds the Thomas Chair as Distinguished Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. A field anthropologist and population geneticist, he helped develop the “Out of Africa” theory of human origins. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending’s research has been featured in the New York Times, The Economist, Los Angeles Times, Jerusalem Post, Atlantic Monthly, Science, Seed, and more.
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Top Customer Reviews
1- The idea (hypothesis) that humans have continued to evolve over the last 10,000 years is a powerful idea well worth exploring. Traditional human evolutionary thought suggests that once agriculture and civilization rolled around, we pretty much stayed as we were because culture kept shifting too quickly for us to adapt to any particular environment. Not so suggest Cochran and Harpending. They point to persistent changes in the environment that could be associated with significant differences in fitness (e.g., lactose tolerance). Clearly, mortality rates remained significant until the 20th Century, so there's probably a lot of meat on this theoretical bone. Certainly, I'm very sympathetic to their argument that human evolution didn't freeze 20-40K years ago. Perhaps, and I mean perhaps, there wasn't time for random mutations to come up with complex adaptations. But there certainly was plenty of time for simple, but important mutations to occur, as well as for the frequency and activation of existing genes to radically change. This is an idea that more evolutionary psychologists, anthropologists, historians, and human theorists need to consider more carefully.
2- Unfortunately, there isn't yet a ton of data to support their theoretical assertion. At least, not a lot of clear-cut behavioral data supported by clear genetic and historical data. Cochran and Harpending present a lot of circumstantial evidence that is compelling, but we (not just them) simply don't have the level of data at this point to make an iron-tight case for recent evolution.Read more ›
The theory implies natural eugenics in populations driven by significant pressures (environmental, biological, societal). You WANT the porridge to be too hot or too cold. Given the improvement in standard of living for all people including lower IQ's, then we may be facing dysgenics now in the world. When the Holocene interglacial ends ( anytime now) we should we should see a major uptake in natural eugenics (if we survive :-))
Most recent customer reviews
l found it very interesting , plausible but not totally proven. lt sounds like eugenics. Some cases have little evidence.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Another great book I gave as a gift to my husband. He loved it and uses it as a reference book. Great buy.Published 19 months ago by happy
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