Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Humankind

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9781847372444: Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Humankind

Africa does not give up its secrets easily. Buried there lie answers about the origins of humankind and the dawn of civilisation. Through a century of archaeological investigation, scientists have transformed our understanding of the beginnings of human life, although vital clues still remain hidden. In Born in Africa, Martin Meredith follows the trail of discoveries about our human origins made by scientists over the last hundred years, as well as describing the history of scholarship in this incredibly exciting field. He relates the intense rivalries, personal feuds and fierce controversies that shaped the study and perception of Africa, and recounts the feats of skill and endurance that have illuminated thousands of years of human evolution. The results have been momentous. Scientists have identified more than twenty species of extinct humans and firmly established Africa as the birthplace not only of humankind, but also of our own species: homo sapiens, the modern human. Scientific study has revealed how early technology, language ability and artistic endeavour all originated in Africa, and scientists have shown how, in an exodus sixty thousand years ago, small groups of Africans left their birthplace to populate the rest of the world. We all have an African legacy, and in this fascinating and informative book Martin Meredith leads us back to the place where we have rediscovered our common human heritage.

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About the Author:

Martin Meredith is a journalist, biographer and historian who has written extensively on Africa and its recent history. He is the author of many books including The State of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence; Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe, and Mandela: A Biography. He lives near Oxford.

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"Kirkus Reivew", April 15, 2011"An appealing account of human evolution and the fiercely competitive anthropologists who are unearthing our ancestors' remains and arguing over what they mean.... The author does a superb job of describing the nuts-and-bolts of field research, the meaning of the often headline-producing findings and the ever-changing variety of species who split off from the common ancestors of chimpanzees and hominids."

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