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Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution
Summary of: Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution
The authors demonstrate that homo sapiens is occasionally a prey species today, that existing apes and monkeys are hunted extensively by various predators, and that various early Homo sapiens ancestor fossils show marks consistent with predation.
The theory that ancestral hominids were hunters has achieved considerable popularity. The authors note that there is considerable evidence that ancestral hominids were more likely a prey species. There are three major lines of evidence:
The authors demonstrate the prey-nature of early hominid ancestors. Their speculations as to what this means in evolutionary and behavioral terms, however, are weaker. This is because it is a long way (in both time and, potentially, place) from Australopithicus afarensis to H. sapiens … the use of tools and fire, for instance, may well have modified behavior inasmuch as the immediate ancestors of H. sapiens became a more formidable prey species.
The question as to what behaviors are derived from those ancestors which were commonly prey animals remains open for speculation and future work. That said, the authors present a challenge to those who maintain the view that humankind’s ancestors were hunters from the earliest times.
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