How did we end up here with over 7 billion of us straining the plant to its limits?
Human Origins provides a richly illustrated and comprehensive narrative of our deep past – tracing out the major events from the big bang to the present with an emphasis on the last million years.
The latest evidence from fossil bones, stone tools, artefacts and ancient DNA reveals how diet, past climate and landscape shaped many of the features that make us human.
Human Origins – Table of Contents
In the beginning – Planet Earth – First life – Microbial world – Algal world – Animal world
The Cambrian explosion – Darwin’s theory – Your inner fish – Onto dry land – Age of reptiles – First mammals
Age of mammals – Primates – Apes
Walking on two legs – The australopiths
Stone tools – First humans – A big brain – Control of fire – Bodies forged by fire – Behaviours forged by fire – The Acheulean brand – Out of Africa
An unsettled world – Homo erectus evolves – Thrusting spears – Can we talk? – Out of Africa II – Our predecessor – Javelins – Colour me red
ETA – A new species – Where did we evolve? – Regions of origin – Northern tip of Africa – Southern tip of Africa – African interior – A complex speciation – Engine rooms of our evolution
The first thousand days – The seafood diet – A love of salt and a need for iodine – The oldest seafood supper – A speciation scenario – Behaving modern – Mind the gap
The rise of symbolism – Cultural preferences – Written symbols – Selecting for symbolism – Selecting for skilful hunters Techno-complexes of southern Africa – Microliths and the bow and arrow – Modern hunter-gatherers emerge
Africa uncorked – A passage out
Ancient reunions – The Great Expansion
To the east – Into Europe –
The Americas – African roots –
Stone Age cultures
Before farming – The first farmers
Farmers disperse – Civilizations
The Industrial Revolution –
The human superorganism
Inevitable or lucky? – Life’s complexity – A big, complex brain – Where to from here? – Future world
Chapter excerpts: click photo to download pdf