About the Book

Man the Hunted

Man the Hunted

Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution, Expanded Edition
July 2008
Trade Paperback · 376 Pages
$39.00 U.S. · $45.00 CAN · £25.99 U.K. · €27.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780813344034
Westview Press


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Man the Hunted argues that primates, including the earliest members of the human family, have evolved as the prey of any number of predators, including wild cats and dogs, hyenas, snakes, crocodiles, and even birds. The authors’ studies of predators on monkeys and apes are supplemented here with the observations of naturalists in the field and revealing interpretations of the fossil record. Eyewitness accounts of the “man the hunted” drama being played out even now give vivid evidence of its prehistoric significance.

This provocative view of human evolution suggests that countless adaptations that have allowed our species to survive—from larger brains to speech—stem from a considerably more vulnerable position on the food chain than we might like to imagine. The myth of early humans as fearless hunters dominating the earth obscures our origins as just one of many species that had to be cautious, depend on other group members, communicate danger, and come to terms with being merely one cog in the complex cycle of life.

The expanded edition includes a new chapter that describes the ever-increasing evidence of predation on humans and other primates and claims that the earliest humans were neither hunters nor even the accomplished scavengers that many authorities have claimed.


Foreword by Ian Tattersall

1. Just Another Item on the Menu
2. Debunking “Man the Hunter”
3. Who’s Eating Whom?
4. Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
5. Coursing Hyenas and Hungry Dogs
6. Missionary Position
7. Terror from the Sky
8. We Weren’t Just Waiting Around to be Eaten!
9. Gentle Savage or Bloodthirsty Brute?
10. Man the Hunted
11. The Final Word

About the Authors

Donna Hart is associate teaching professor of anthropology at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and was a professional in the field of wildlife conservation for many years. Her current writing projects include The Complex Nature of Human Variation (forthcoming, Westview Press).

Robert W. Sussman is professor of physical anthropology and environmental science at Washington University (St. Louis), editor emeritus of American Anthropologist, and is currently editor of Yearbook of Physical Anthropology and secretary of the anthropology section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of many scientific articles and books on anthropology and primatology.