Sussman and Hart argue that early man did not have the capacity to detoxify rotting meat nor the ability to chase off competing animal scavengers.
"Not one of the more than 250 living primate species is a scavenger," says Sussman. "They are not scavengers because they avoid decomposing food."
Sussman and Hart also address the topic of cannibalism, which they claim is "beyond rare," and atypical, strange human behavior. "It just hardly ever happens," Sussman says.
The philosophical question of how a new scientific paradigm gets accepted is also discussed. "Once a paradigm becomes established within a scientific community, most practitioners become technicians working within the parameters of the theory but rarely questioning the validity of the theory itself," Sussman writes.
Changing the currently popular Man the Hunter theory is difficult for that reason.
Though Sussman realizes there will still be critics of the Man the Hunted theory, he believes the book's new version will help to quiet some of that.
Early man may have hunted, but was not a hunter. He may have scavenged, but was not a scavenger. Humans evolved mainly as a plant-eating species that ate some animal protein collected opportunistically, Sussman and Hart claim.
"We are not saying that our theory is absolutely correct and will never be disproven," he says "But we are saying that the evidence we have today best fits the theory of Man the Hunted than of Man the Hunter."
Background on the original 'Man the Hunted.'
Sussman's book, "Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators and Human Evolution," 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.
He co-authored the book with Donna L. Hart, Ph.D., a member of the faculty of Pierre Laclede Honors College and the Depa
|Contact: Neil Schoenherr|
Washington University in St. Louis