By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life
By Martin Meredith (Simon & Schuster, $35.00, hardcover, 230 pages)
Martin Meredith delivers an informative, engaging account of human evolution.
Meticulous care has been taken with interpretation of the trail of discoveries about human origins made by scientists over the last century, describing their personal feuds and rivalries and fierce controversies, as well as, their feats of skill and endurance.
Significant results have shed light with more than 20 species of extinct humans being identified by scientists. They illustrate that modern humans possess a wide range of skills and language ability, spread out from Africa in an exodus 60,000 years ago to populate the rest of the world.
Africa has been established as the birthplace not only of humankind, but also of modern humans. We have all inherited an African past.
Africa, it is said, does not give up its secrets easily. “Buried there lie answers about the origins of humankind. After a century of investigation, scientists have transformed our understanding about the beginnings of human life. But vital clues still remain hidden.”
In a convincing account, Meredith manages to celebrate the momentous discoveries yielded by expeditions and recreates the resulting hazards and exhilarations.
Our understanding about the beginning of human life is being altered with the many discoveries that have been made. Simultaneously, the riddle gets more complex as evidence about human evolution increases. However, crucial evidence still remains buried.
Fame and academic success depend on finding rare human remains, and in human anthropology, this is a task that equally requires persistence, a knack for fund-raising and luck.
Born in Africa discloses Meredith’s journalistic origins and centres on these ambitions, even though the shortcomings and disputes of the media attention-seeking pack are not always relevant, but they are worthy of note.
The biographer and historian does a splendid job in describing the basics of field research in legible terminology.
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