There is, broad agreement in the scientific world today that all
humans share common origins in Africa, but when Charles Darwin
first suggested it in 1871, few European scientists took his theory
seriously. When the Taung child skull was found in South Africa in
1924, Raymond Dart supported Darwin’s theory, but it did little to
shift scientific opinion. In the 1980s, when genetics research
concluded that all living humans can trace their maternal ancestry
back to Africa 200 000 years ago, many international scientists
were slow to accept this claim. Scientists, and their research, are
often shaped by the prevailing social and political context at the
time. Kuljian explores this trend in South Africa and provides
fresh insight on the search for human origins – in the fields of
palaeoanthropology and genetics – over the past century. The book
follows the colonial practice in Europe, the US and South Africa of
collecting human skeletons and cataloguing them into racial types,
in the hope that they would provide clues to human evolution.
Kuljian sheds light on how, during apartheid, the concept of racial
classification mirrored the way in which many scientists thought
about race and human evolution. In more recent years, the field has
been shaped by a more open and diverse approach, and more women and
African scientists are entering the field. Research continues and
new information is gathered all the time. Darwin’s Hunch also
examines current developments in the search for human origins, and
uncovers stories that shed new light on the past.
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Review This Product
Thorough and thought provoking
Mon, 15 Jun 2020 | Review by: GraBus4253
The writing in this book is factual and informative, but the author manages to tell a story throughout. This book is an excellent read and reminds us of our shared humanity - something that has not always been understood, and still not understood by some.
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