I caught this Smithsonian review of the evolution of modern humans from Peter Frost’s blog post last night. I got some time to read the piece on the bus this morning, and wanted to briefly share my thoughts of it with you. The piece is written by science writer Guy Gugliotta, he has covered other anthropological topics such as the rise and fall of the Maya and the genetic diversity of early human settlers of the Americas for other sources before.
Guy got a lot of big names in paleoanthropology and archaeology to comment on his latest Smithsonian piece, “The Great Human Migration.” You may recognize Tim White and Ofer Bar-Yosef among the many he’s interviewed. Guy summarizes some major sites and recent finds, such as the artistic and symbolic nature of early Homo sapiens seen in the 164,000 years old artifacts from Pinnacle Point, South Africa and the 77,000 year old shell beads Blombos Cave, also in South Africa. Guy also offers up a physical comparison of Homo sapiens to other hominids, such as Neandertals. He reviews both older and current genetic evidence on the evolution of humans.
You should read it if you don’t know much about paleoanthropology and other disciplines related to the evolution of modern humans and are interested in the subject. Guy synthesizes many different fields, from archaeology to paleontology to genetics, and offers up a pretty succint and clear review of what know about how modern humans got to where we are now.