Did you love the Indiana Jone movies? Always dream about being an archaeologist? The First Human, by Ann Gibbons, is a fascinating expose on the search for human ancestors by real life archaeologists.
The First Human maps out archaeologists’ quests to discover the relationship between modern day humans and our ancestors both inside and outside Africa or “the cradle of humanity.” It is an intriguing perspective on the ethics and relationships between archaeologists and delves into what it means to be human. While providing accurate information, The First Human is a mesmerizing read for the every day consumer interested in the origins of mankind. It balances the storytelling element of the lives of the archaeologists, such as Meave Leakey, who made the discoveries while teaching the reader about digs and specific discoveries, including the now famous fossil name “Lucy,” that shed light on the “human family” and “fossil hunters.” Kirkus Reviews wrote that it is “a deft account-part detective story, part adventure tale-of recent breakthroughs in the search for human origins […] Gibbons provides inspiring portraits of genius laced with the nitty-gritty of oral foible, all informed by firsthand accounts, interviews and research.” I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in archaeology.