The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey

Spencer Wells

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0812971469

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Around 60,000 years ago, a man—genetically identical to us—lived in Africa. Every person alive today is descended from him. How did this real-life Adam wind up as the 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?

Examining the hidden secrets of human evolution in our genetic code, Spencer Wells reveals how developments in the revolutionary science of population genetics have made it possible to create a family tree for the whole of humanity. Replete with marvelous anecdotes and remarkable information, from the truth about the real Adam and Eve to the way differing racial types emerged, The Journey of Man is an enthralling, epic tour through the history and development of early humankind.
















characterized by a bulbous penis in his portraits – is rather more Puckish, and enjoys playing practical jokes. The Quinkans, and their ancient pedigree, demonstrate the strong sense of connectedness that the Aborigines feel to the land where they live. Their songlines trace ancient journeys across the landscape, providing a genealogical link back to the earliest days of human existence. Like many indigenous peoples around the world, the Aborigines believe that they have always lived in their

peninsula’ to Palo Alto. We chose to make this trek every day because we preferred living in the city, with its excitement and fluid mix of people. Our flat was in the Richmond district, the heart of the Russian immigrant community and shoulder-to-shoulder with ‘New Chinatown’ on Clement Street. On the drive home at night I would listen to National Public Radio, which is more or less the American equivalent of BBC Radio Four, in order to pass the time. One evening in the autumn of 1997 as I was

Americas were driven to extinction around this time, among them mammoths and horses – the latter weren’t to reappear in the Americas until the Spaniards introduced them in the fifteenth century. While humans may not have done the job on their own – climate change at the end of the last ice age almost certainly played a major role – they probably delivered the coup de grâce to the gentle giants of the plains. Counting waves One of the most contentious issues in the study of Native American

Grimms’ work was done, at least in part, in order to derive a sense of unity for the German-speaking peoples. In the case of the linguistic studies, it was an effort to define and codify the unity and history of the Germanic languages, as part of the creation of a national language standard. The fairytales, on the other hand, were an effort to record the folk culture of the Germans, in order to preserve and mould their national identity. Germany was in the process of becoming ‘German’, and the

by agriculture – Chinese and Hindi being the two best examples. Even in these cases, though, the creation of a national language has contributed to their success. What is clear is that a few languages are becoming much more widespread. The top 100 languages are spoken by 90 per cent of the people in the world – despite the fact that linguists recognize over 6,000 distinct tongues. Clearly, most are spoken by only a few people. The future of most of these languages is uncertain at best. Through

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