John S. Compton

 

    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

Front Pages

Front Pages

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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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Chapter 5

Chapter 5

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Chapter 6

Chapter 6

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Chapter 7

Chapter 7

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Chapter 8

Chapter 8

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

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Chapter 10

Chapter 10

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Acknowledgements

Illustration credits

Further reading

Index

© John S. Compton