Preface

 

1  Abiotic to animal 

        In the beginning – Planet Earth – First life –  Microbial world – Algal world – Animal world

 

 

2  Endless forms most beautiful  

      The Cambrian explosion – Darwin’s theory  – Your inner fish – Onto dry land  – Age of reptiles – First mammals

        Age of mammals – Primates – Apes

 

3  Breaking human

  Walking on two legs – The australopiths

         Stone tools  – First humans – A big brain – Control of fire  – Bodies forged by fire – Behaviours forged by fire  – The Acheulean brand – Out of Africa

 

4  Out of an unsettled world

An unsettled world  – Homo erectus evolves –  Thrusting spears – Can we talk? – Out of Africa II  –  Our predecessor – Javelins – Colour me red

 

5  African cradle 

      ETA – A new species – Where did we evolve?  –  Regions of origin – Northern tip of Africa  – Southern tip of Africa – African interior –  A complex speciation – Engine rooms of our evolution

 

 

 

 

 

 

6   Seafood and our speciation 

        The first thousand days – The seafood diet – A love of salt and a need for iodine –  The oldest seafood supper – A speciation scenario – Behaving modern – Mind the gap

 

 

7   Our long, slow cultural evolution 

  The rise of symbolism – Cultural preferences – Written symbols – Selecting for

symbolism – Selecting for skilful hunters   Techno-complexes of southern Africa – Microliths and the bow and arrow –

Modern hunter-gatherers emerge

 

 

8   Conquering the world

 Africa uncorked – A passage out

   Ancient reunions – The Great Expansion

 To the east – Into Europe –

The Americas  –  African roots –

Stone Age cultures

 

 

9   Our dominion 

  Before farming – The first farmers

    Farmers disperse – Civilizations

      The Industrial Revolution –

The human superorganism

 

 

10 A species with a future and a past   

        Inevitable or lucky? – Life’s complexity –  A big, complex brain – Where to from here? –  Future world

 

 

    Acknowledgements

 

     Illustration credits

 

     Further reading

 

     Index     

 

 

 

 

Human Origins - Table of Contents

Chapter 1

download Ch 1

excerpt as pdf

Chapter 2

Chapter 10

download Ch 10

excerpt as pdf

© John S. Compton

John S. Compton
Earthspun Books logo
Book cover of Human Origins by John S. Compton published by Earthspun Books 2016
cover to Human origins book by John S. Compton published by Earthspun Books 2016
image of Archean Earth from Compton's Human Origins book
Cambrian seas by John Sibbick in Chapter 2 of Compton's Human origins book
Human origins Chapter 3 Compton
out of an unsettled world - chapter 4 of Compton's Human origins book
African cradle chapter 5 of Compton's Human origins
Noordhoek Beach in Compton's book on human origins, The role of eating seafood in human evolution
Engraved ochre from Blombos Cave, South Africa - our cultural evolution has deep roots
the human superorganism explained in Chapter 9 of Compton's Human Origins book
Overshoot - are we already in overshoot? see Compton's Human Origins book Chapter 10
John S. Compton
Earthspun Books logo
Book cover of Human Origins by John S. Compton published by Earthspun Books 2016

Book cover of Human Origins by John S. Compton published by Earthspun Books 2016 image of Archean Earth from Compton's Human Origins book
Cambrian seas by John Sibbick in Chapter 2 of Compton's Human origins book Human origins Chapter 3 Compton
out of an unsettled world - chapter 4 of Compton's Human origins book African cradle chapter 5 of Compton's Human origins

Noordhoek Beach in Compton's book on human origins, The role of eating seafood in human evolution Engraved ochre from Blombos Cave, South Africa - our cultural evolution has deep roots
the human superorganism explained in Chapter 9 of Compton's Human Origins book Overshoot - are we already in overshoot? see Compton's Human Origins book Chapter 10