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New book further supports controversial theory of 'Man the Hunted'
Date:8/20/2008

Despite popular theories to the contrary, early humans evolved not as aggressive hunters, but as prey of many predators.

"Humans are no more born to be hunters than to be gardeners," argues Robert W. Sussman, Ph.D., professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, in the newly-updated version of the controversial book "Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators and Human Evolution."

The soft cover book, released in July by Westview Press, includes a new chapter aimed at quieting critics and responding to new evidence that has appeared since the book's original publication in 2005.

In the original volume, Sussman poses a new theory, based on the fossil record and living primate species, that primates have been prey for millions of years, a fact that greatly influenced the evolution of early man. The book won the 2006 W.W. Howells Award for the best book in biological anthropology written for a wide audience.

Both versions are co-authored by Donna L. Hart, Ph.D., a member of the faculty of Pierre Laclede Honors College and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

The controversial ideas proposed by the original "Man the Hunted" raised many eyebrows in the academic community and beyond.

"We wrote this update to answer some of the criticisms and to provide more evidence for our view of early man as prey," Sussman says.

The book's new chapter addresses such topics as evidence of additional predators found in the fossil record since the first book's publication, evidence of predation by eagles, cannibalism, cut and tooth marks, scavenging and cooperation.

"One major alternative theory that has gained more attention since we wrote the original book is that early man was not a hunter, but was a scavenger instead," Sussman says. "We have found that while early man may have done some scavenging, it was opportunistic. Very little of early human's diet came f
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Contact: Neil Schoenherr
nschoenherr@wustl.edu
314-935-5235
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert  

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