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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-07-15 12:46
The Invaders by Pat Shipman
The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction - Donna Postel,Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

TITLE:  The Invaders: How Humans and Their Dogs Drove Neanderthals to Extinction


AUTHOR:  Pat Shipman


NARRATOR:  Donna Postel




FORMAT:  Audiobook


ISBN-13:  9781494563097




"Approximately 200,000 years ago, as modern humans began to radiate out from their evolutionary birthplace in Africa, Neanderthals were already thriving in Europe-descendants of a much earlier migration of the African genus Homo. But when modern humans eventually made their way to Europe 45,000 years ago, Neanderthals suddenly vanished. Ever since the first Neanderthal bones were identified in 1856, scientists have been vexed by the question, why did modern humans survive while their evolutionary cousins went extinct? The Invaders musters compelling evidence to show that the major factor in the Neanderthals' demise was direct competition with newly arriving humans. Drawing on insights from the field of invasion biology, Pat Shipman traces the devastating impact of a growing human population: reduction of Neanderthals' geographic range, isolation into small groups, and loss of genetic diversity. But modern humans were not the only invaders who competed with Neanderthals for big game. Shipman reveals fascinating confirmation of humans' partnership with the first domesticated wolf-dogs soon after Neanderthals first began to disappear. This alliance between two predator species, she hypothesizes, made possible an unprecedented degree of success in hunting large Ice Age mammals-a distinct and ultimately decisive advantage for humans over Neanderthals at a time when climate change made both groups vulnerable."





I do not have a good relationship with audiobook - I tend to wool gather or fall asleep while listening to them. So I might have missed something and couldn't flip back to check.




This book is something of a detective/mystery novel where the author tries to find out why the Neanderthals went extinct.  Her hypothesis makes use of ecological theory to suggest that modern humans have the same effect on the environment as any other invasive species competing with native animals for the same/similar resources - thus Neanderthals and other megafauna could have survived the cold climate at the time but could not survive the climate and the additional competition with modern humans and their pet wolves/dogs.  The changing climate, changing food sources, other animals in the area, generic invasive species and their effects, hunting techniques, the arrival of modern humans, competition for the same/similar resources, as well as the domestication of wolves/dogs is discussed. The title of the book doesn't really fit with Shipman's hypothesis though, as according to the text, Neanderthals were already on their way out before homo sapiens (aka modern humans) migrated into Eurasia and the semi-domesticated wolf-dogs only arrived (according to available fossil evidence) after the Neanderthals were gone.  The dogs only make an appearance about 3/4 through the book, if anyone is looking specifically for that information. 


I'm not entirely convinced by her argument.  The timing is a bit erratic, with Neanderthal populations declining before modern humans arrived and a large time gap between Neanderthals and domesticated wolves.  She also doesn't take into account that dogs were domesticated from an extinct species of wolf that might not have behaved in the same way as the Grey wolves used in her study (she generally ignored all the other canid species and their interactions with humans).  The author admits that there isn't enough evidence currently to say whether her hypothesis is correct or not, and that new advances in dating and additional fossil sites are required to either prove/disprove her hypothesis.  Shipman's hypothesis of why modern humans domesticated wolves/dogs and Neanderthals didn't, is fairly interesting and new information seems to provide some confirming evidence.  There is also some issue with her stating that Neanderthals ate only meat and didn't change their diet (especially in comparison with brown bear diet changes), when other studies state that some Neanderthals ate meat, others a mix, and some others ate mostly vegetables and thus changed their diet.  There is also no mention of Denisovians (probably due to lack of evidence at time of publication).  The DNA data on Neanderthal-Modern Human hybridization/interbreeding is also out of date.  This makes me wonder what else is out of date and how that effects the hypothesis.


Pat Shipman helpfully makes a point of differentiating between speculation and inferences from hard, empirical evidence.  There is a lot of space dedicated to dating of specific finds and analysis of particular fossil evidence.  She does however, tend to repeat herself too often and harp on the same theme far too much (I got that humans are an invasive species after the first paragraph, I didn't need a whole chapter on the subject and several reminders throughout the book). 


An interesting, but flawed, book.



NOTE ON AUDIOBOOK:  Postel has a pleasant voice, narrates well and at a decent speed.


Humanity's Best Friend: How Dogs May Have Helped Humans Beat the Neanderthals

The Evolution of Puppy Dog Eyes

Some Neanderthals Were Vegetarian — And They Likely Kissed Our Human Ancestors






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review 2019-07-14 20:16
The Kissing Contract by Amy Andrews
The Kissing Contract - Amy Andrews



With a grin on my face and a smile in my heart, I gave myself over to the force that is Amy Andrews and lost my head in the process. Marshall and Gus are at odds over an island. For Marshall it holds painful memories. For veterinarian, Dr. Augusta (Gus) North it's home for over 200 adorable bunnies. Can a court order and a mischievous, yet cuddly group of rabbits, spell the beginning of an ever after kind of love for two stubborn hearts? Hold on to your hearts cause The Kissing Contract, just may steal them away.

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text 2019-07-14 20:09
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Sweep in Peace - Ilona Andrews

Enjoyed this but bot as much as they other books 

Full review to come 

Image result for okayish gif

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text 2019-07-02 15:42
25 Historical Fiction Books
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
Daughters of the Dragon - William Andrews
Go Ask Alice - Beatrice Sparks,Anonymous
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain,Guy Cardwell,John Seelye
Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
Jack Dawkins - Charlton Daines
London; the story of the greatest city on Earth. - Edward Rutherford
Ramses: The Son of Light - Christian Jacq,Mary Feeney
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys - Louisa May Alcott,Elaine Showalter

Okay, here goes. In no particular order:


1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2. Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews

3. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

5. Oliver twist by Charles Dickens

6. Jack Dawkins by Charlton Daines

7. London by Edward Rutherfurd

8. Ramses: Son of the Light by Christian Jacq (+ series)

9. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

10. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

11. Pompeii by Robert Harris

12. The Bastard by John Jakes (+ series)

13. Legacy by Susan Kay

14. The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick (+ series)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

16. Tai-Pan by James Clavell

17. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

18. Hawaii by James A. Michener

19. Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

20. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

21. The Firebrand by Marion Zimmer Bradley

22. Toby Tyler; or, Ten Weeks with a Circus by James Otis

23. Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice

24. A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

25. The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown

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text 2019-06-19 17:37
And still more for MR's list
God Stalk - P.C. Hodgell
High Moor - Graeme Reynolds
Demoniac Dance - Jaq D. Hawkins
Stormqueen! - Marion Zimmer Bradley
Einstein's Secret - Irving Belateche
Daughters of the Dragon - William Andrews
Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
The Witching Hour - Anne Rice
The Toy Makers - Robert Dinsdale
Fools and Mortals - Bernard Cornwell

Some of my choices are first books of a series but the series has to hold up to be included and there's a controversial author or two, but I'm judging the books by their own merits, nothing else.

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