The World Before Us
How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins
'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
'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
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.
'The application of new genetic science to pre-history is analogous to how the telescope transformed astronomy. Tom Higham brings us to the frontier of recent discoveries with a book that is both gripping and fun' Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion
'This exciting book shows that we now have a revolutionary new tool for reconstructing the human past: DNA from minute pieces of tooth and bone, and even from the dirt on the floor of caves' David Abulafia, author of The Boundless Sea
'The remarkable new science of palaeoanthropology, from lab bench to trench' Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred
'Higham's thrilling account makes readers feel as if they were participating themselves in the extraordinary series of events that in the last few years has revealed our long-lost cousins' David Reich, author of Who We Are and How We Got Here
'A brilliant distillation of the ideas and discoveries revolutionising our understanding of human evolution' Chris Gosden, author of The History of Magic
About this Author
Tom Higham is Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Oxford and Director of the Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit. He has worked on the remains of Richard III, The Elephant Man and Egyptian pharaohs. Since 2010 he has been at the forefront of research on a new species of human, the Denisovans. This is his first book for a general readership.
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