Summary

Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe - descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question: Why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct?
The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals' demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals' geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity. But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans' partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals - a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable.
©2015 Pat Shipman (P)2015 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By G. Spence on 19-01-17

Great book. Poor choice of narrator

This is a scientifically rigorous book that thoroughly and carefully lays out the author's hypothesis about how anatomically modern humans replaced Neanderthals in Europe. Whether or not I agree with the author, it's refreshing to see true scientific thinking and writing. People should read it just to see what real science is like. The subject is fascinating.

The narrator, however, is scientifically illiterate. It's funny to hear her mispronouncing any word that's at all sciency. "Die Adam" for diatom is one example. The author's wild inflections are incongruous with the reasoned steady tone of the author's text. Somewhat distracting, but not enough that I wouldn't recommend the book.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Tisa Garrison on 01-07-15

This is Popular Science -- No Dramatic Rendering Necessary

When the information in a book is compelling, I find it VERY distracting for the reader, especially a female reader, to do an oral-interpretation-of-literature, over-enunciated, dramatic reading..now whispering confidentially...now almost giggling, now edging on mock-sarcasm...YUCK -- this only distracts from the content of a good scientific tome. The reader makes "the reader" the point, not the information. I could "hear" her smiling as she read. I imagined sitting around the reading rug in the 1st grade with her flipping the book around to show us the pretty pictures. STOP IT. By the time the reader got to the really dry review-of-literature stuff, she'd turned off the "charm" and turned me off, as well.

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14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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