The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2002 - Science - 224 pages
56 Reviews

Around 60,000 years ago, a man--identical to us in all important respects--lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up father of us all? What happened to the descendants of other men who lived at the same time? And why, if modern humans share a single prehistoric ancestor, do we come in so many sizes, shapes, and races?

Showing how the secrets about our ancestors are hidden in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the cutting-edge science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. We now know not only where our ancestors lived but who they fought, loved, and influenced.

Informed by this new science, The Journey of Man is replete with astonishing information. Wells tells us that we can trace our origins back to a single Adam and Eve, but that Eve came first by some 80,000 years. We hear how the male Y-chromosome has been used to trace the spread of humanity from Africa into Eurasia, why differing racial types emerged when mountain ranges split population groups, and that the San Bushmen of the Kalahari have some of the oldest genetic markers in the world. We learn, finally with absolute certainty, that Neanderthals are not our ancestors and that the entire genetic diversity of Native Americans can be accounted for by just ten individuals.

It is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind--as well as an accessible look at the analysis of human genetics that is giving us definitive answers to questions we have asked for centuries, questions now more compelling than ever.

  

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educational and intriguing. - Goodreads
But, unfortunately, Wells is not a gifted writer. - Goodreads
It does have the most beautiful photographs however. - Goodreads
But the writing was anything but inspiring. - Goodreads
So hard to read, it was interesting but so heavy… - Goodreads
My advice, don't read the book. - Goodreads

Review: The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

User Review  - James Hollomon - Goodreads

Spencer Wells is an expert on genetics and its application toward tracing human migrations from the time we first journeyed out of Africa till we colonized the entire Earth. He brings to the task ... Read full review

Review: The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

User Review  - Jeff Dixon - Goodreads

This is the most comprehensive and easy to understand book about human evolution that I have ever read. Read full review

Contents

The Diverse Ape
1
E pluribus unum
14
Eves Mate
41
Coasting Away
61
Leaps and Bounds
81
The Main Line
100
Blood from a Stone
122
The Importance of Culture
146
The Final Big Bang
184
Acknowledgements
197
Further Reading
199
Index of Pictures
208
Index
214
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Spencer Wells is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the director of the Genographic Project. After studying under genetic pioneer Luigi Cavalli-Sforza at Stanford University, he began an unusual career that mixes science, writing, and filmmaking. His acclaimed first book, "The Journey of Man," combined his own DNA research with the work of archaeologists, paleoanthropologists, paleoclimatologists, and linguists to show how modern humans came to populate the planet.

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