Homo Britannicus: The Incredible Story of Human Life in Britain (Penguin Press Science)
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Chris Stringer's "Homo Britannicus" is the epic history of life in Britain, from man's very first footsteps through to the present day. When did the first people arrive here? What did they look like? How did they survive? Who were the Neanderthals? Chris Stringer takes us back to when it was so tropical we lived here alongside hippos, elephants and sabre-toothed tigers or to times so cold we hunted reindeer and mammoth, and to others even colder when we were forced to flee a wall of ice. Here is the incredible truth about our ancestors' journey over millennia - and a glimpse of the future to see how it might continue. "A beautiful book on a fascinating subject, written by a world authority". (Richard Dawkins). "Superlative...Pure stimulation from beginning to end". (Bill Bryson). "Every chapter contains something new, and throws up a fresh location that deserves to become famous". ("Sunday Times"). "This important and eminently readable book pulls together all the best scientific work on the first humans to inhabit Britain". (Tony Robinson). Chris Stringer is Britain's foremost expert on human origins and works in the Department of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum. He also currently directs the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project, aimed at reconstructing the first detailed history of how and when Britain was occupied by early humans. His previous books include "African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity", "The Complete World of Human Evolution" and most recently, "Homo Britannicus", which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book of the Year in 2007.
Britons, and this book looks at those questions, who is addressing them (see the Appendix), and how they are being answered. We have remarkable new evidence from East Anglia showing that humans arrived here earlier than anyone would have believed even a few years ago and lived in an environment with a balmy climate like that of southern Europe. This will be the subject of Chapter 1. An ancient buried landscape in East Anglia is being re-exposed and reconstructed to reveal a human presence that
were needed. If they were well made, this was a testament to the skill of the manufacturer and his or her pride in their output. Microscopic studies of used handaxe edges suggest that they were employed for a variety of tasks including butchery, working wood and chopping plant materials, and modern experiments on elephants that had died in zoos or in the wild show that handaxes are indeed fine butcher’s tools. But experiments also show that they do not have to be shaped anywhere near as perfectly
Archaeological Unit in mounting a rescue dig before the evidence was lost to science. AHOB members and associates took part in the excavations and have been involved in the work at every stage, and Lynford has developed into one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in Britain. Approximately 2000 kg of samples were removed for processing and a rich harvest of pollen, plants, molluscs, insects and vertebrates has been recovered. Sixty thousand years ago, an ancient forerunner of the modern
herbivores such as horse, red deer and the extinct giant ox providing meat on the hoof, while smaller animals such as badger, arctic hare and birds such as black grouse, ptarmigan and partridge were also consumed when available. One of the bird species, whooper swan, was even used as a source of bone, probably for making needles. There are a few other notable species such as the saiga antelope, now found on the arid steppes of central Asia, and two species of lemming, but the expected cold
Optimum, occurred between about 9,000 and 5,000 years ago. The hunter-gatherers of Europe who had adapted to the relatively open conditions at the end of the Ice Age now faced new challenges. Animals such as mammoth, cave bear, spotted hyaena and lion, part of the European scene for hundreds of thousands of years, died out locally or globally as dense forests spread across much of western Europe, accompanied by forest-loving animals such as red deer, brown bear and wild boar. As people adapted to