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Download The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors (Unabridged) Audiobook, by Ann Gibbons
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (140 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Gibbons Narrator: Renee Raudman Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2006 ISBN:
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This dynamic chronicle of the race to find the missing links between humans and apes transports readers into the highly competitive world of fossil hunting and into the lives of the ambitious scientists intent on pinpointing the dawn of humankind.

The quest to find where and when the earliest human ancestors first appeared is one of the most exciting and challenging of all scientific pursuits. The First Human is the story of four international teams obsessed with solving the mystery of human evolution and of the intense rivalries that propel them.

An award-winning science writer, Ann Gibbons introduces the various maverick fossil hunters and describes their most significant discoveries in Africa. There is Tim White, the irreverent and brilliant Californian whose team discovered the partial skeleton of a primate that lived more than 4.4 million years ago in Ethiopia. If White can prove that it was hominid, an ancestor of humans and not of chimpanzees or other great apes, he can lay claim to discovering the oldest known member of the human family. As White painstakingly prepares the bones, the French paleontologist Michel Brunet comes forth with another, even more startling find. Well known for his work in the most remote and hostile locations, Brunet and his team uncover a stunning skull in Chad that could set the date of the beginnings of humankind to almost seven million years ago.

Two other groups, one led by the zoologist Meave Leakey, the other by the British geologist Martin Pickford and his partner, Brigitte Senut, a French paleontologist, enter the race with landmark discoveries of other fossils vying for the status of the first human ancestor.

Through scrupulous research and vivid first-person reporting, The First Human takes listeners behind the scenes to reveal the intense challenges of fossil hunting on a grand competitive scale.

Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia Gallagher | 11/15/2013

    " Fascinating topic, but I don't think this book offers anything new. It also is very repetitive, which I found to be irritating. If you're interested in the subject, I would just go straight to Jared Diamond's books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven Taylor | 10/26/2013

    " A book about the personalities and politics of early-human fossil hunters. Sound boring? It is. Thought it would teach me more about the fossils that have been found. It didn't teach me more. The "Smithsonian" book was much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicci Frederick | 10/14/2013

    " Love it so far, I'm 3/4 done. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 8/19/2013

    " I need to actually get this book and read it. I thought it was fascinating, and the tension among the scientists was interesting. But I think I would benefit from actually seeing the photos of the various fossils. The audiobook was good, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 7/26/2013

    " So if you're an anthropology major, you should definately read it. There is a lot of interesting information on the people who essentially shaped the field for the last 100 years. It's kind of scary, but good to know ahead of time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 5/30/2013

    " An informative overview of the science of paleoanthropology, the politics behind it, and the childish academic squabbles that often hobble it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandi Rae | 1/25/2013

    " This was really interesting, although a bit of a dry read compared to some other books on the same subject. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Babak | 4/10/2012

    " One would not expect that someone could write a thriller about boring scientists. I enjoyed this book a lot. Not only because of its documentary thriller style but also because I learned tremendously about where I come from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 2/20/2012

    " An excellent read. A good intro to the subject of paleoanthropology. The politics and the finds are combined to read like a good novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 10/18/2011

    " This book was really fun. Who could have suspected the politics at play in the race to find the earliest hominid? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 9/25/2011

    " Good information, although, I'd prefer more on the findings and less on the squabbles. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 8/31/2011

    " An excellent journalistic account. Both engaging as a human story and informative enough to be a reference book on the shelves of the paleoanthro nerds among us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 8/14/2011

    " pretty dramatic stuff, that palaeoanthropology. neat-o. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 7/4/2011

    " LOTS more drama and intrigue in the anthropological world than I expected. Good update on post-Lucy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Millie | 5/24/2011

    " For an assigned "school book", I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this. The childish antics of the paleoanthropologists kept me interested, and I learned a lot about the history of human ancestors at the same time. Would definitely recommend! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 4/3/2011

    " pretty dramatic stuff, that palaeoanthropology. neat-o. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Babak | 1/1/2011

    " One would not expect that someone could write a thriller about boring scientists. I enjoyed this book a lot. Not only because of its documentary thriller style but also because I learned tremendously about where I come from. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Millie | 12/7/2010

    " For an assigned "school book", I was shocked at how much I enjoyed this. The childish antics of the paleoanthropologists kept me interested, and I learned a lot about the history of human ancestors at the same time. Would definitely recommend! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steven | 7/23/2009

    " A book about the personalities and politics of early-human fossil hunters. Sound boring? It is. Thought it would teach me more about the fossils that have been found. It didn't teach me more. The "Smithsonian" book was much better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 5/12/2009

    " An excellent read. A good intro to the subject of paleoanthropology. The politics and the finds are combined to read like a good novel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicci | 4/19/2009

    " Love it so far, I'm 3/4 done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brandi Rae | 3/15/2009

    " This was really interesting, although a bit of a dry read compared to some other books on the same subject. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat | 12/5/2008

    " I need to actually get this book and read it. I thought it was fascinating, and the tension among the scientists was interesting. But I think I would benefit from actually seeing the photos of the various fossils. The audiobook was good, though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brad | 4/11/2008

    " This book was really fun. Who could have suspected the politics at play in the race to find the earliest hominid? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/12/2008

    " An excellent journalistic account. Both engaging as a human story and informative enough to be a reference book on the shelves of the paleoanthro nerds among us. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Danielle | 10/11/2007

    " So if you're an anthropology major, you should definately read it. There is a lot of interesting information on the people who essentially shaped the field for the last 100 years. It's kind of scary, but good to know ahead of time. "

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About the Author

Ann Gibbons has been the primary writer on human evolution for Science magazine for more than a decade. She has taught science writing at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Science Journalism Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Ann lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.