Reflections of Our Past: How Human History is Revealed in Our Genes
by John H.
Relethford (Westview Press) is a gem of a
book. In it,
Relethford, an anthropologist at SUNY Oneonta, a distinguished teaching
professor, examines how members of his field use genetic information to shed
light on human origins and prehistory. And he questions some orthodox views
along the way
in this accessible and absorbing examination of how the genes of living people
in the world today reveal the history of humankind, from the origins of humans 6
million years ago to the present.
In non-technical language, he gives the answer or shows how the answer could be obtained through research to such important questions as:
There are also chapters on the origins of the Polynesians, and the
ever-interesting case studies of genetic admixtures such as the Jewish diaspora.
Relethford shows us why our closest living relatives are the African apes, and
he challenges the current view that all our ancestors originated in
examination of issues such as these,
Reflections of Our Past
shows how anthropologists use genetic information of many kinds to test theories
and define possible answers to fundamental questions in human history.
This is a highly readable, popular exposition of human evolution and the
breakthroughs and methods in genetics research, a highly contentious field – a
must-read for professionals and the general public interested in human variation
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