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Showing 1-10 of 10 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 47 reviews
on August 1, 2015
It was already a bit old when I got my hands on it... How old? Well, the author was discussing Neanderthal heritage in current populations, and I already know that I'm ~2.6% Neanderthal thanks to 23andMe.

Still, a lot of the ideas presented are very valid, if you have it around go ahead and read it, but there might be updated material somewhere else, and that's perfectly acceptable, that's science working for us!
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on May 11, 2013
This excellent book written by renowned science writer represents contemporary knowledge in one of most thrilling
sphere of science - history of migration humans from Central Africa across four continents. I consider this book
as a sort of proper sequel of Richard Dawkins's book "The greatest show on Earth". I love both books. Tolaola
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on September 1, 2015
Challenges your assumptions about genetics, racial identity and diversity. It's a great read for anyone who's open to new ideas about who we are as humans, or even for those who aren't.
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on September 17, 2014
Very interesting. Not a page turner and had to re-read some sections. Other parts much easier to follow. I would call it human natural history.
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on August 21, 2016
Not finished yet, but very informative and equally as interesting!
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on March 26, 2007
Mapping Human History discusses how the use of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosomal DNA can be used to trace the common origins of humans. Steve builds a case for how humans appeared as a distinct group about 150,000 to 200,000 years ago based on genetic variation we see in people today. By using genetics and the study of haplotypes and haplogroups, it believed that one can trace our ancestry back to a common "Mitochondrial Eve" or an "Adam" neither of which may have lived at the same time. He covers the encounters with other species such as Neanterthal, emergence of agriculture and the development of ethnicity.

Steve covers most of the globe in this quest for common origins: Africa, Middle East, Asia, Australia, and Europe and finally the Americas. The evidence tends to support an African origin. I found the discussion of the settlement of the Americas interesting. The ultimate conclusion of all of this is the commonality of the human species. A case is made for the irrelevance of race; this seems to be a prominent theme throughout the book.

One thing that I found interesting was the fact that written language goes back only to about 3400 BCE. This tends to support the Bible chronology of humans being created only about 6000 years ago (you can't have written history that predates humans), but then this would be in conflict with the genetic findings.

I also read the book The Journey of Man by Spencer Wells which also discusses the genetic history of man. Neither book really discussed, to my satisfaction, exactly how one gets from the genetic variations to the time periods for the existence of humans being promulgated. It would be of value to have more input in this regard.
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on December 7, 2015
Thank you.
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on February 1, 2013
Well written and easy to understand, I would recommend it to anyone who desires and understanding of how we came to be.
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on January 9, 2017
I found the book very difficult to read. The author goes to great efforts to cover his tracks for using politically in-correct terms only to use the "bad" terms at a later time in the book. He has problems with the concept of ethnicity but forgets as the book drones on. There are manyh passages that start saying one thing and finish saying the opposite. Despite the presence of the term Genes in the title he gives little real attention to the topic. I tried skipping parts of pages only making it half way through. I did not finish the book/
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on August 15, 2005
I turned to Mapping Human History after an exciting odyssey from Noah's Flood through In Search of the Indo-Europeans. I was looking for genetic confirmation of the location of the earliest speakers of Proto-Indo-European. I had concluded from the first book that the great flood had indeed been the torrent that drowned a drying fresh water lake and left it the Black Sea about 7,500 years ago. The second book placed the most likely homeland of the Proto-Indo-Europeans as the area between the Caspian and Black Seas. As only archaeological and linguistic data had been used in that very careful study, I thought I would see what light newer genetic data might throw on the subject.

Unfortunately, Olson is so concerned with debunking Aryan myths and assuring us that all men are brothers that he is not much help. He mentions the Caspian and Black Sea homeland as one hypothesis and raises a second one which would make the Proto-Indo-Europeans the first farmers from the Middle East who spread into western Asia and Europe beginning about 9,000 years ago. In spite of his own objections to that theory, he later comes down in favor of the farmers.

The reconstructed Proto-Indo-European language makes it clear that it developed in a pastoral, horse breeding culture not a primarily farming one. Olson's genetic data is overwhelmed by his proselytizing. He reports that the mitochondrial DNA now in Europe reflects several broad waves of immigration into the continent. He says that 10% came from the original "out of Africa" group. The majority came during the waxing and waning of the Ice age, "probably as the result of a continuous trickle of people from the Middle East", and finally, "about one-fifth from the movement of Middle-Eastern farmers into Europe ". Olson wants to deny the overwhelming evidence for the steppe origins of the Indo-Europeans, I think he is being politically correct. I would rather he just be correct.
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