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The Ten Thousand year Explosion, Review

For anyone insterested in anthropology and evolution one of the most fascinating new finds has been the evidence of an acceleration of adaptive evolution in human beings over the last 40,000 and especially the last 10,000 years. This flew in the face of the idea that humans had essentially stopped evolving biologically when cultural evolution became a major force which had been a position espoused some of the most when well know biologists and anthropologists such as stephen Jay gould and Ashley Montague. The new evidence would indicate that rather then stopping biological evolution increased cultural evolution accelerated biological evolution by creating even more diverse enviroments and new and different stressors. In retrospect this is obvious we have known for ages that humans evolved adaptions to diseases we recieved from animals after domestication like small pox, that we evolved lactase persistince in population specializing in pastoralism and increased amalyse production in populations specializing in farming. What nobody had pointed out was how this obvious tests case were likely just the most obvious of a vanguard of changes.

The ten thousand year explosion is an exploration of the evidence for this acceleration, a argument for why it happened and a picture of how the authors think it affected us.

It is sweepingly large book in small package is easy to read engaging and mostly persuasive, however the brevity of their approach often leaves one feeling like though their argumentation is convincing it is not as fully developed as possible considering some of the very conterversial claims made in the books this probably not the best approach. At times I felt the authors made statements that were highly conterversial as if they were accepted fact and only much later got around to providing evidence for their position.

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