How can we know about the lives of our ancestors who lived 30,000, or 300,000, or 3 million years ago? In "The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins", Piero and Alberto Angela address the many difficulties and challenges that scientists face in assembling the record of human evolution. To piece together the intriguing puzzle of human origins it is necessary to study all clues that are made available by multidisciplinary research, including palaeontology, biochemistry, geology, genetics, physics, and climatology. Like so many Sherlock Holmeses, researchers seek all possible clues and analyse them meticulously in hopes of being able to reconstruct the past. These pieces are few and fragmentary, ranging from the footprints left in volcanic ash 3.7 million years ago by hominids who walked exactly as we do, to a 'Y' pattern on molars and mitchondrial DNA. But they all provide information on the diet, diseases, hunting techniques, and art of Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, the Neanderthal, and the first Homo sapiens sapiens.
Written in an accessible but authoritative style, this study includes many lively reconstructions of the everyday life of our earliest ancestors based on the most reliable data. "The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins" makes available to a wide audience a unique look inside the exciting world of research into the beginnings of human life on earth.