Ancient Bones: Unearthing the Astonishing New Story of How We Became Human

Madelaine Böhme (Author) Rüdiger Braun (Author)
& 1 more


"Part Sherlock Holmes, part Indiana Jones, Ancient Bones is an entertaining and provocative retelling of the human evolutionary story."--Jeremy DeSilva, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

Fans of Sapiens will love this "fascinating forensic inquiry into human origins" (Kirkus), where a renowned paleontologist takes readers behind the scenes of one of the most groundbreaking investigations into the origins of humankind.

Africa has long been considered the cradle of life--where life and humans evolved--but somewhere west of Munich, Germany, paleoclimatologist and paleontologist Madelaine Böhme and her team make a discovery that is beyond anything they ever imagined: the twelve-million-year-old bones of an ancient ape--Danuvius guggenmos--whichmakes headlines around the world and defies prevailing theories of human history and where human life began.

Ancient Bones takes readers behind the scenes of this incredible discovery, and invites readers to explore theories concerning early hominins to prehistoric humans, how climate and the environment were driving forces behind evolution, and how pivotal evolutionary steps--from our ability to communicate using complex speech to walking upright and using our hands to create--were necessary for humans to evolve and live on this planet. Blending science, history and mystery, Ancient Bones explores a fascinating new chapter in the origins of humanity and, above all, brings clarity to what makes humans human.

With prose that read like a thrilling detective story, and pages that feature more than 50 images of fossils, maps, and illustrations and diagrams, this exciting exploration of humanity will prove an indispensable read for those who are endlessly curious about who we are, how we got here, and what comes next.

Praise for Ancient Bones:

"Readable and thought-provoking. Madelaine Böhme is an iconoclast whose fossil discoveries have challenged long-standing ideas on the origins of the ancestors of apes and humans."--Steve Brusatte, New York Times-bestselling author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

"An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and exceptionally thought-provoking read."--Midwest Book Review

"An impressive introduction to the burgeoning recalibration of paleoanthropology."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Product Details

$28.95  $26.63
Greystone Books
Publish Date
September 08, 2020
5.6 X 8.6 X 1.2 inches | 0.01 pounds

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About the Author

MADELAINE BÖHME is a scientist, professor at the University of Tübingen, and founding director of the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment.

RÜDIGER BRAUN is a journalist who translates cutting-edge science into gripping stories to affect societal change.

FLORIAN BREIER is a journalist, filmmaker, and writer for various television networks.

DAVID R. BEGUN is a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto and co-author of the 2019 study that broke the story of the newly discovered bones to the world.


"In pursuit of an intriguing if controversial theory of distant human origins, Madelaine Böhme and her colleagues very readably unearth some fascinating history and evoke all the excitement that is inherent in modern paleoanthropological research."
--Ian Tattersall, co-author of The Accidental Homo sapiens: Genetics, Behavior, and Free Will.

"This book expresses perfectly the excitement of discovering ancestral lineages in our genus. It is a colorful, personal account of research into one of the most basic interests of our species--our origins and our close extinct relatives."
--Dr. Robert DeSalle, principal investigator, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics