AFRICAN GENESIS by Robert. Ardrey
Kirkus Star


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The last thirty years have seen a revolution in man's knowledge about man's origins that rivals the scientific revolution in material things. Robert Ardrey here presents the evidence that established proof that man's descent from carnivorous, predatory apes is not open to question- but merely, perhaps, to amplification and modification. And that if it should not be true, and our instincts rooted in our heritage, our minds free, we have no future but extinction. Man is not unique. There is ineradicable evidence that our cultural instincts were existent before man emerged. To prove his points he marshals a brief history of revolution, the factors of animal behavior that establish our links beyond dispute, the stormy channels of our African genes. In the course of his arguments he lightens the process with some refreshing- and revealing-stories from the animal world he shares the adventure of discovery of fossil remains of nature's last animals rather than the earliest men; he pursues with Dart and with the leakes the thorny paths to truth- the opposition of the court of science, reluctant to abandon their own theses; he captures our interest with the discovery that weapons, whether parts of animals, or stone tools, are on both sides of the transition. He presents successive common of animals and man: dominance, territorial conflict, the fundamental driven of hunger, sex, survival; and the fallacies of belief in our supreme position, the original goodness of man. He exposes some of the fallacies or Marxiam, of Fraudianism, even of Darwinism- while acknowledging the stature of the men and their contributions. In a final philosophical section he wonders how we can get along without war, whether we can accept the fact of man as a transitional species- and ends with confidence that in our link with our ancestors lies our strength. While this may stir controversey among scientists, it is exciting reading for the layman.

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 1961
Publisher: Atheneum