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The Hunting Apes


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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix Chapter 1 The Indelible Stamp 3 Chapter 2 Man the Hunter and Other Stories 15 Chapter 3 Ape Nature 52 Chapter 4 The View from the Pliocene 103 Chapter 5 The Hunting People 136 Chapter 6 The Ghost in the Gorilla 163 Chapter 7 Meat's Patriarchy 199 Notes 219 References 229 Index 247

Promotional Information

The 'Man the Hunter' model of the 1960s was simultaneously one of the most influential and reviled of ideas about human origins. It fell easy victim to numerous criticisms (drawn especially from work on chimpanzees), and dropped from favor during the 1970s. There was, however, a baby in that bath and Stanford has rescued it, dried it off, and refined it with volumes of new data and theory. The result is a sophisticated and provocative synthesis of eMan the Hunteri and chimpanzee behavioral ecology. -- Jim Moore, University of California, San Diego Stanford's essay neatly captures the powerful role that hunting has played in human evolution and in the minds of evolutionists. -- Richard Wrangham, Harvard University, author of "Demonic Males: Apes and the Originis of Human Violence"

About the Author

Craig B. Stanford is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Co-Director of the Jane Goodall Research Center at the University of Southern California. He has conducted field studies of apes and monkeys in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. His other works include Chimpanzee and Red Colobus.


Many people believe that the one trait that most sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our intellectual capacity. Determining the evolutionary forces that led to such a qualitative difference between us and our nearest relatives can be viewed as the grail of those who study human evolution. Stanford (Chimpanzee and Red Colobus), an anthropologist at the University of Southern California, does a solid job of summarizing the wealth of often contradictory material bearing on this quest. He concludes that "the origins of human intelligence are linked to the acquisition of meat, especially through the cognitive capacities necessary for the strategic sharing of meat with fellow group members." Stanford's thesis is different from those postulated previously because of his focus on the sharing of meat and on the role that nonhunters, particularly females, have played in structuring group cohesion as well as interpersonal relationships. In prehuman groups, he contends, meat became the first commodity, not unlike money today, that could be used to acquire power, traded for sexual relations or bartered for other valuable resources. Stanford's ideas, while controversial, are amply documented by behavioral studies of nonhuman primates, anthropological studies of a number of human societies and archeological studies of early and pre-humans. (Mar.)

"A provocative, eminently digestible book... Stanford writes clearly and often deftly, and with admirable concision... [A] marvelous exploration of evolutionary hypotheses ... fascinating stuff."--Michael Pakenham, The Baltimore Sun "Anyone who would like to review all of the arguments on human origins should read The Hunting Apes... This book will go a long way in explaining why physical anthropologists and their colleagues fight so much."--Deborah L. Manzolillo, Times Literary Supplement "A brave academic endeavour and a fine piece of popular science writing... Stanford's book summarises a huge body of evidence in a pleasing, coherent and non-polemic way. You'll feel that you're talking with a learned ... dinner companion, rather than enduring a lecture or hectoring sermon from an academic pulpit."--Adrian Barnett, New Scientist "Stanford's ideas, while controversial, are amply documented by behavioral studies of nonhuman primates, anthropological studies of a number of human societies and archeological studies of early and pre-humans."--Publishers Weekly "[A] provocative new look at what made people so smart... This is a fascinating book, written for the nonspecialist."--Booklist "An unabashed celebration of the carnivorous tendencies of early humankind. Virtually every aspect of Stanford's thesis about the importance of meat acquisition and sharing among early humans is steeped in controversy."--Kirkus Reviews "[An] admirable little book... [Stanford's] meticulously constructed study is both readable and thought-provoking and gives fascinating insights into the behaviour of our species."--The Tablet "The Hunting Apes is a very enjoyable and quick read, written for a broad audience... These are well-written synopses--good for students, the general informed public, and those in anthropology and other sub-disciplines who want to keep up on these topics."--M. Tappen, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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