The World Before Us
‘The who, what, where, when and how of human evolution, from one of the world’s experts on the dating of prehistoric fossils’ Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs
‘Fascinating and entertaining. If you read one book on human origins, this should be it’ Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules – For Now
50,000 years ago, we were not the only species of human in the world. There were at least four others, including the Neanderthals, Homo floresiensis, Homo luzonesis and the Denisovans. At the forefront of the latter’s ground-breaking discovery was Oxford Professor Tom Higham.
In The World Before Us, he explains the scientific and technological advancements – in radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA, for example – that allowed each of these discoveries to be made, enabling us to be more accurate in our predictions about not just how long ago these other humans lived, but how they lived, interacted and live on in our genes today. This is the story of us, told for the first time with its full cast of characters.
‘Exciting’ David Abulafia, author of The Boundless Sea
‘Remarkable’ Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred
‘Thrilling’ David Reich, author of Who We Are and How We Got Here
‘Brilliant’ Chris Gosden, author of The History of Magic
‘Gripping and fun’ Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion
‘Essential’ Barry Cunliffe, author of The Scythians
‘Profoundly entertaining’ Brian Fagan, author of World Prehistory
Fascinating and deeply researched. Higham conveys the thrill of archaeological discovery eruditely and accessibly -- Alexander Larman * Guardian * A gripping account of Earth's other humans -- New Scientist The remarkable new science of palaeoanthropology, from lab bench to trench -- Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred The application of new genetic science to pre-history is analogous to how the telescope transformed astronomy. Tom Higham, one of the world's leading scientists in the field, brings us to the frontier of recent discoveries with a book that is both gripping and fun. And the results are astonishing. It matters: understanding our evolutionary origins reveals our innate strengths as a species -- Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion A brilliant exposition of the way in which archaeology and science are completely changing our understanding of early humans. This is a fast-moving story written with verve and enthusiasm by one of the scientists deeply involved in tracking down the evidence. Essential reading for all interested in our early ancestors and the sheer excitement of their discovery -- Barry Cunliffe, author of The Scythians A brilliant distillation of the ideas and discoveries revolutionising our understanding of human evolution. Tom Higham, one of the leaders of the revolution and the cutting-edge science on which it is based, introduces us to a complex world of many human species, whose genes and deeds live on in us today -- Chris Gosden, author of The History of Magic Tom Higham has been at the pulsating centre of the close collaboration between archaeologists and geneticists that in the last few years discovered our previously unknown cousins - the Denisovans - and revealed the lost world in which they, Neanderthals and modern humans interacted and interbed. His thrilling book gives us a court-side view of this scientific revolution -- David Reich, author of Who We Are and How We Got Here A bang-up-to-date insider's review of a critical period in the emergence of modern humans. It also provides fascinating, intelligible and authoritative glimpses into a wide variety of new technologies -- Ian Tattersall, co-author of The Accidental Homo sapiens: Genetics, Behavior, and Free Will
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