, Volume 28, Issue 5, pp 1193-1194
Date: 27 Oct 2007

Donna Hart, Robert Sussman: Man the Hunted Primates, Predators and Human Evolution

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Our basic human identity as “Man the Hunter” and our subsequent nature as “killer-apes” is a notion currently “embraced by many and challenged by few” (xv), according to Hart and Sussman, who set out to take a very different look at human origins. As the title implies, they argue that human origins are more accurately understood in terms of our role as the targets of predation, rather than as the powerful hunters of the African Plio-Pliestocene savannah. Drawing upon the fossil record and the living primates, a convincing case is made for the vulnerability of our smallish bipedal ancestors. From the Taung child discovered in 1924, who was very likely the prey of a large eagle, to the recently discovered Dmanisi specimens of Homo in the Republic of Georgia, the fossil records shows hominid remains bearing evidence of predation as the cause of death, and/or in association with the remains of predatory cats, dogs, and birds of prey. The case for predation as a fact of life for the living