The Incredible Human Journey – The Story of How We Colonised the Planet by
I remember catching a few episodes or bits of episodes of this excellent BBC series and thinking two things: how gorgeous and delightful the presenter was and how interesting and well presented the information/story was. So when I saw the book I jumped at the opportunity to explore the subject in more depth.
Dr Robert’s writing style is very chatty and, in this volume at least, very personal and down to earth. Having heard her speak before on TV I found that, rather than reading words off the page, it was like listening to her tell me about the journey she made across the world following in our ancestors footsteps – literally as we basically colonised the planet on foot – from Africa, across the Middle East, into the Far East and India, across the sea via island hopping to Australia, a later move into Europe and then finally across the land-bridge over what is now the Bering Strait, down North America and into South America. Following the archaeological evidence as far as it went – which is very patchy and sometimes deeply disputed in some areas – and the more recent breakthroughs in DNA analysis Dr Roberts made a very good case indeed for the Out of Africa Hypothesis (so much so as to make it as close to fact as we’re likely to get) after bringing up and addressing the major counter proposals. She also made a good case for how early humans crossed to Australia – obviously in boats that, because of their very nature, left no archaeological evidence behind them and even travelled a short distance between islands on a bamboo raft that would not have been outside the capabilities of our ancestors at the time.