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The World Before Us

How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins

Tom Higham

$39.99

Hardback

Forthcoming
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Penguin
02 July 2021
The story of us, told for the first time with its full cast of characters Fifty-thousand 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 groundbreaking 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.
By:   Tom Higham
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 162mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   583g
ISBN:   9780241440674
ISBN 10:   024144067X
Pages:   320
Publication Date:   02 July 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  ELT Advanced ,  Primary
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Forthcoming

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 trade book.

Reviews for The World Before Us: How Science is Revealing a New Story of Our Human Origins

The who, what, where, when and how of human evolution, from one of the world's experts on the dating of prehistoric fossils. Tom Higham blends evidence from archaeology, palaeontology and genetics to reveal a rich family album of our closest relatives, a cast of characters including cave-dwelling Neanderthals, mountain-adapted wanderers and island-living Hobbits, which thrived before Homo sapiens took over the world -- Steve Brusatte, author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs Opening up entirely new perspectives on the early history of humanity, 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. Everyone studying history should be taking a course in DNA -- David Abulafia, author of The Boundless Sea Our knowledge of where humanity came from has been revolutionized in the last ten years, and Tom Higham has been in the front lines for many of the biggest breakthroughs. The World Before Us is a fascinating and entertaining account, which tells us not only of how we began, but also where we might be going. If you read one book on human origins, this should be it -- Ian Morris, author of Why the West Rules - For Now 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 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 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


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