Who We Are and How We Got Here

Who We Are and How We Got Here

Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

eBook - 2018
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"A groundbreaking book about how technological advances in genomics and the extraction of ancient DNA have profoundly changed our understanding of human prehistory while resolving many long-standing controversies. Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before, and it has become clear--in part from David Reich's own contributions to the field--that genomics is as important a means of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word. Now, in The New Science of the Human Past, Reich describes with unprecedented clarity just how the human genome provides not only all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop but also contains within it the history of our species. He delineates how the Genomic Revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our own lineage as modern humans; how genomics deconstructs the idea that there are no biologically meaningful differences among human populations (though without adherence to pernicious racist hierarchies); and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of human inequality--among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population"--
Publisher: New York :, Pantheon Books,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101870334
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xxv, 335 pages) :,illustrations
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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IndyPL_TomP Jan 28, 2019

From a New York Times book review: "What should you expect when you read this book? Don’t expect an oversimplified story. Population genetics is a complicated, fast-moving field with many uncertainties of interpretation. To tell that story to the broad public, and not just to scientists reading specialty journals, is a big challenge. Reich explains these complications as well as any geneticist could; others rarely even try. Some of Reich’s conclusions will surely be superseded within a few years." No, no oversimplification here, for sure. Not an easy read but fascinating to see how new tools are revealing so much while at the same time revealing how much more there is to discover.

Sep 13, 2018

You may have heard that Europeans have some Neanderthal genetic material and how all human beings are descended from mitochondrial Eve. These findings were groundbreaking but with new advances in extracting and analyzing DNA from ancient human remains, there is so much more information on human migration and interaction to be found. This books takes the reader on a tour through time and across the globe to illuminate some of these new findings. Fascinating!

Aug 12, 2018

5 STARS - Fascinating read ! David Reich paints an up-to-date picture of how our human ancestors spread out of Africa and around the globe. It's not a simple picture, involving layers of migration, intermixing, back-migrations, and has many ground shaking implications. 1) "ethnic purity" is in most cases wishful thinking 2) "race" is a fuzzy - and increasingly less meaningful - biological concept 3) ideas of ethnic or racial superiority are undercut by (1) and (2).

This picture is based on the work by bone hunters, population geneticists and , more recently, by molecular biologists using DNA analysis. The result is a revolution in our ability to peer far into humanity's past. Most exciting is that we're not done exploring and the picture will change as we discover new evidence of extinct human lineages.

I hope this book get widely read - especially in our schools.

Jun 04, 2018

On page 182, the work of Ed Vajda, a WWU Russian language professor, is cited. Vajda's research documents the relatedness of the Na-Dene languages of Native Americans to a central Siberian language currently spoken by the Kets. Professor Vadja's finding can be seen in the You-Tube video,"Dene-Yeniseian Workshop."

Apr 23, 2018

Totally FANTASTIC. The author puts all the info that has been derived from DNA analysis together into one book. This is not surprising, since the author and his associates have been the leading scientists in the DNA field and how it is used to determine the movement of mankind around the planet. I am a scientist and recommend this to anyone who is interested in these topics.


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