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20230219 – The World Before Us



The author’s description of the content of this book:” This book explores the Palaeolithic era (or Old Stone Age), a key phase of late human evolution from roughly 300,000 to 40,000 years ago; a period when we, Homo sapiens, became us. This area of research has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, and what we know now about our own deep past is very different from what we once thought “. The recent critical findings that occurred due to discoveries in the Denisovan cave and technological breakthroughs that led to decoding ancient DNA samples prompted considerable changes in our understanding of human evolution. It turned out to be much more complex and interesting than people thought. It included multiple human species, previously unimaginable routes, timings of migrations, interbreeding, and many other complex occurrences. It is also a brief but excellent review of new technological advancements that allow the development of this new understanding. These technologies come from multiple areas, from satellite imaging to the biological processing of fossilized material. 


Back just a few decades ago, it would be inconceivable to believe that DNA could be extracted and decoded from organic residues created long ago. Similarly, it would be hard to imagine that images from the satellite could lead to archeological discoveries. From my point of view, the new findings demonstrate that human evolution was not a straightforward process as people thought back in the 1970s but rather a complex and convoluted process with setbacks, the division of species into subspecies, and their merging back together. It also causes territorial expansion of humans and then contraction. However, all this does not change the main point of the human species’ development via evolution. It just demonstrates that the understanding of evolution as a directional process is plainly incorrect. The actual process is basically adjustable, so it is not from simple to complex or from lowly amoebas to noble humans. It is just an adjustment to various environmental niches that sometimes includes movement from simple organisms to more complicated, but sometimes from more complex to something simpler but better adjusted to environmental change. Amoebas are still existing in their niches and seem to be doing great. I hope the same can be said about humans for a long, long time in the future.   


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