Review: Chris Stringer, The Origin of Our Species, Allen Lane, London, 2011


  • Dave O'Farrell


The topics of human evolution and the origins of human society have been of interest to Marxists since the time of Marx and Engels. The origins of modern human society have been an area of considerable debate on a number of fronts with Marx and Engels theories of a form of primitive communism existing in hunter gatherer societies often counter-posed with theories of humans as `naked apes' with conflict and hierarchical structures being the norm. These naked ape theories are often used as evidence that a socialist society is impossible and that it is simply ‘human nature' that modern capitalist society is structured in such a way that a minority of people effectively have the power and influence to control society. Various theories of human evolution which portray different races as evolving in distinctly different regions, known as multi region models, have also been used to justify racism of varying degrees. These topics and many others are all covered in Chris Stringer's latest book.