Christopher Brian Stringer (born 1947) is a British anthropologist who is a Research Leader in Human Origins at the Natural History Museum. Robin McKie is a science writer. They wrote in the Preface to this 1996 book, "For the past few years, a small group of scientists... have shown that we belong to a young species, which... conquered the world in a few millenia. The story... challenges many basic assumptions we have about ourselves: that 'races' deeply divide our populations; that we owe our success to our big brains; and that our ascent was an inevitable one. Far from it... Neanderthals became extinct even though they had bigger brains than Homo sapiens; while chance as much as 'good design' has favored our evolution."
They summarize, "an upright, small-brained ape gave rise to several different hominid lines and eventually... led to the emergence of Homo sapiens... one group of our immediate predecessors, the Neanderthals... [were] an intelligent species in their own right---although... we have learned that they are not the ancestors of human beings today, but are more like... cousins." (Pg. 83)
They argue, "Of course, there was clearly no single exodus, no one triumphant army of early hunter-gatherers who were led Out of Africa toward a new world by a Paleolithic Moses. Instead, our exodus would have occurred in trickles as our ancestors slowly seeped out of the continent, expanding their hunting ranges and taking over new territory." (Pg. 160-161)
They state, "The progeny of the people who found Australia 50,000 years ago, and the descendants of the tribes who poured down the Americas 12,000 years ago, as well as the heirs to all those other settlers of Europe, Africa, and Asia, share a common biological bond. They are all the children of those Africans who emerged from their homeland only a few ticks ago on our evolutionary clock... underneath our species has scarcely differentiated at all." (Pg. 177) They add, "Our exodus's timescale is so brief that only slight differences, if any, in intellect and innate behavior are likely to have evolved between modern human populations." (Pg. 183) They suggest, "it was the genetic capacity to speak a complex language that raised modern humans from the millennia-long doldrums we were sharing with the Neanderthals until 40,000 years ago. It gave us the power to take over the world." (Pg. 205)
This book will be of definite interest (whether or not one accepts all of the arguments and evidence presented) to anyone studying the orgins of humanity, as well as various modern ethnic groups.