God-Apes and Fossil Men

Paleoanthropology of South Asia
Kenneth A. R. Kennedy
Provides the first comprehensive study of the ancient peoples of south Asia


Until recently the scientific study of the prehistoric peoples of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the South Asian borderlands has been neglected, beyond some cursory comments in the popular literature about archaeological discoveries. Here is a book that offers much more: a broad survey of all prehistoric cultures of the Indian subcontinent from Paleolithic to Iron Age times.

Written in a style accessible to the general reader, the book pioneers a new approach involving the integration of data from archaeological, paleontological, ecological, and anthropological investigations to offer a comprehensive picture of the origins, diversity, and lifeways of southern Asian populations. Complex scientific ideas are clearly and carefully explained in early chapters as the author considers the theories of human origins in Asia and the significance of the fossils of anthropoid apes recovered from the Siwalik hills (the "God-Apes"). Thereafter the text carries the story of human life on the subcontinent through distinct cultural periods from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age.

Over the course of the book Kenneth A. R. Kennedy demonstrates that South Asian paleoanthropology has been formed by two intellectual forces: Western scientific traditions and native Vedic traditions. The interactions of Western and South Asian scholars have produced a unique approach to the study of ancient populations in this part of the world.

No other book exists today on this subject, and God-Apes and Fossil Men: Paleoanthropology of South Asia serves as a model for future studies of ancient peoples and places.

Kenneth A. R. Kennedy is Professor of Ecology, Anthropology, and Asian Studies in the Division of Biological Sciences, Cornell University. He has over thirty-five years of field and laboratory research in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the borderlands.

Praise / Awards

  • "Kennedy shines in his detailed discussion of the history of race and the traditional three races of India. . . . I would consider this book a must for all anthropologists with an interest in Asia and the roots of European civilization."
    ---Donald Tyler, American Journal of Human Biology, Volume 13, No. 6
  • ". . . God-Apes and Fossil Men has an incredibly broad scope covering geography, geology, ecology, prehistory, protohistory, primate and human paleontology, skeletal biology, human variation, genetics, and linguistics. . . . Kennedy has put his heart, soul, and years of experience into this work, and all those with interests in the development of South Asian technologies and cultures are indebted to him for writing it. There is much to learn."
    ---Asian Perspectives
  • "Kennedy achieves two goals: he fully elucidates the biological evolution of homo sapiens and offers a cultural and archaeological setting for human diversity in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan). In achieving these goals this excellent book is without peer! The author presents an engaging intellectual history of biological anthropology/archaeology in South Asia and a superb synthesis of the origins of agriculture, the emergence of an urban complex society (Harappan Civilization), the search for the Aryans, the discovery of the Iron Age 'Megalithic Builders,' and early historic populations. In an excellent conclusion Kennedy lucidly discusses the demise of the 'race' concept and considers genetic histories and modern techniques of DNA in the study of human diversity. . . . [T]his book will long endure as the standard text for all academic collections."
    ---C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, Harvard University, Choice, May 2001
  • "Kennedy. . . has done a great service to the anthropological community by writing an authoritative and accessible book on the paleoanthropology of south Asia."
    ---Michael Petraglia, Hunters of The Golden Age, Volume 1, No. 5 (2001)
  • Winner: American Anthropological Association's 2002 W.W. Howells Book Prize in Biological Anthropology

Product Details

  • 7 x 10.
  • 504pp.
  • 19 drawings, 32 photographs, 2 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2000
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11013-1

Add to Cart
  • $99.95 U.S.