November 11, 2004
The Real Eve : Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa
I glanced through Stephen Oppenheimer's The Real Eve : Modern Man's Journey Out of Africa today. A pretty good book, covering both the Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial phylogeny of mankind, and seemingly less intellectually "lightweight" than some other rcent entries in the genre. On the minus side, the tendency of geneticists to give fanciful names to clades is very tiring, and I caught a few instances of Oppenheimmer trying to "fit" biblical genealogy with human phylogeny to justify his choices. On the plus side, any book that still uses terms like "Mongoloid" and "Australoid" shows a refreshing degree of acceptance of the traditional racial nomenclature. I didn't read enough to discover the obligatory "race doesn't exist" section -which has become quasi-obligatory in books on this subject- and I hope The Real Eve doesn't have one. All in all, I think it's a good primer on human genetic prehistory.