Book Notes: Nicholas Wade’s – “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors”

I bought and finally read Nicholas Wade’s – “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors” after catching references to it around the blogosphere (e.g. TDAXP)

I loved it.

This book makes an interesting pass at writing down the “pre-history” of humans mostly based upon on genetics and human DNA analysis.

Wade notes the following as the themes driving the book:

– There is a clear continuity between the ape world of 5 million years ago and the human world that emerged from it.

– A principle force in the shaping of human evolution has been the nature of human society.

– The human physical form was attained first, followed by continued evaluation of human behavior.

– Most of human prehistory occurred in, and was shaped by the last ice age.

– The adaptaions for three principal social institutions – warfare, religion, and trade – had evolved by 50,000 years ago.

– The ancestral people had a major limitation to overcome: they were too aggressive to live in settled communities.

– Human evolution did not halt in the distant past but has continued to the present day.

– People probably once spoke a single language from which all contemporary languages are derived.

– The human genome contains excellent records of the recent past, providing a parallel history to the written record.

Everybody should read this book. I am passing my copy onto my family

One Response

  1. Glad you liked it! A great summary!

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