Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors

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Based on a groundbreaking synthesis of recent scientific findings, an acclaimed New York Times science reporter tells a bold and provocative new story of the history of our ancient ancestors and the evolution of human nature

Just in the last three years a flood of new scientific findings-driven by revelations discovered in the human genome-has provided compelling new answers to many long-standing mysteries about our most ancient ancestors-the people who first evolved in Africa and then went on to colonize the whole world. Critically acclaimed New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade weaves this host of news-making findings together for the first time into an intriguing new history of the human story before the dawn of civilization. Sure to stimulate lively controversy, he makes the case for novel arguments about many hotly debated issues such as the evolution of language and race and the genetic roots of human nature, and reveals that human evolution has continued even to today.

In wonderfully lively and lucid prose, Wade reveals the answers that researchers have ingeniously developed to so many puzzles: When did language emerge? When and why did we start to wear clothing? How did our ancestors break out of Africa and defeat the more physically powerful Neanderthals who stood in their way? Why did the different races evolve, and why did we come to speak so many different languages? When did we learn to live with animals and where and when did we domesticate man's first animal companions, dogs? How did human nature change during the thirty-five thousand years between the emergence of fully modern humans and the first settlements?

Wade takes readers to the forefront of research in a sweeping and engrossing narrative unlike any other, the first to reveal how genetic discoveries are helping to weave together the perspectives of archaeology, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics, and many other fields. This will be the most talked about science book of the season.
 

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User Review  - LisCarey - www.librarything.com

Nicholas Wade discusses how the growing science of genetics expands and deepens our understanding of human evolution, our relationship to our closest relatives, and how we became the species we are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jjwilson61 - LibraryThing

I felt as the book went on it got more and more speculative until I felt that I couldn't trust what I was reading. One thing that stood out was the conclusion that a large percentage of the population ... Read full review

Contents

Genetics Genesis
5
First Words
35
Eden
51
Exodus
75
Stasis
100
Settlement
123
Sociality
139
Race
181
Language
202
History
233
Evolution
264
Notes
281
Acknowledgments
297
About the Author
313
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Nicholas Wade received a BA in natural sciences from King's College, Cambridge. He was the deputy editor of "Nature" magazine in London and then became that journal's Washington correspondent. He joined "Science" magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to "The New York Times," where he has been an editorial writer, concentrating on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy, a science reporter, and a science editor.

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