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About this book
About this book
Scientists believe that every human on the planet is descended from a woman who lived in Africa 100,000 years ago. "Origins" tells the incredible story of homo sapiens - where we came from, why we made it (and why 20 human-like species didn't) and what it means to be 'human' anyway. Part one takes us back through evolution to meet our ancestors. From the ape-like Proconsul who lived in Africa 17 million years ago to Homo floresiensis, the dwarf human species which survived on the Indonesian island of Flores until 18,000 years ago.
The most accurate facial reconstructions available bring us up close with these familiar yet alien relatives, and artworks give a compelling insight into their lives - where they lived, what they wore, whether they spoke, what they ate, what animals existed. Graphical timelines untangle the relationships between the different species and highlight our remarkable evolutionary journey. The second part shows how humans spread across the planet to form the diverse races and peoples we know today, from our first steps out of Africa 100,000 years ago to our arrival in New Zealand as recently as 1,000 years ago.
PART ONE: Meet the Ancestors We travel back 19 million years to the furthest branches of our family tree to find the 20 or more species that make up our ancestors. We concentrate on 10 of the key ones, creating a unique family gallery for our humankind. faint traces Our most distant ancestors, from Proconsul to Sahelanthropus tchadensis african pioneers The first bipeds, from Australopithecus afarensis to A. africanus early man The first toolmakers and hunter-gatherers, from Homo habilis to Homo ergaster later man The other faces of humanity, from Homo neanderthalensis to Homo floresiensis PART TWO: The Human Odyssey We trace the incredible journey of our species, Homo sapiens, from Africa to occupy the world, arriving in New Zealand as recently as 1,000 years ago. first steps The great African dispersal the big trek From the Mediterranean to Australia feature:? The Origins of Art northward bound Travelling into Europe coming to america From Siberia to the Americas feature:? The Origins of Belief peopling the pacific The first New Zealanders Glossary Index
Dr Douglas Palmer is a science writer and lecturer. His books include The Neanderthal, which accompanied the acclaimed Channel 4 series, Earth Time, The Atlas of the Prehistoric World and Prehistoric Past Revealed (MB). He is a contributor to a variety of publications including New Scientist, Science and BBC Wildlife Magazine. He is currently working on Evolution for Mitchell Beazley (2009).