The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors (Paperback)

The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors

By Ann Gibbons

Anchor Books, 9781400076963, 303pp.

Publication Date: April 10, 2007

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Description

In this dynamic account, award-winning science writer Ann Gibbons chronicles an extraordinary quest to answer the most primal of questions: When and where was the dawn of humankind?Following four intensely competitive international teams of scientists in a heated race to find the "missing link"-the fossil of the earliest human ancestor-Gibbons ventures to Africa, where she encounters a fascinating array of fossil hunters: Tim White, the irreverent Californian who discovered the partial skeleton of a primate that lived 4.4 million years ago in Ethiopia; French paleontologist Michel Brunet, who uncovers a skull in Chad that could date the beginnings of humankind to seven million years ago; and two other groups-one led by zoologist Meave Leakey, the other by British geologist Martin Pickford and his French paleontologist partner, Brigitte Senut-who enter the race with landmark discoveries of their own. Through scrupulous research and vivid first-person reporting, The First Human reveals the perils and the promises of fossil hunting on a grand competitive scale.


About the Author

Ann Gibbons, the primary writer on human evolution for Science magazine for more than a decade, has taught science writing at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Science Journalism Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. www.anngibbons.com


Praise For The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors

“A wonderful, balanced, and accurate account of the search for the oldest human ancestors and the personages involved in this quest. Gibbons provides a revealing window into the house of horrors that can be human origins research.”—Science“Thrilling.... Gibbons [writes] with great flair.” —Entertainment Weekly“An entertaining, richly detailed story, told with clarity and a commanding grasp of the complexities of human origins.”—The Plain Dealer“Colorful and readable. . . . Like a detective story that puts Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Sam Spade, V.I. Warshawski, Easy Rawlins and Gil Grissom all in the same room, gives them a handful of clues, and lets them argue endlessly about the solution. Science writing is rarely this entertaining.”—San Jose Mercury News

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