Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "MUST-READ" WORK - MIGRATIONS OF THE ANCESTORS
HERE ARE THE DNA FINGERPRINTS AND FOOTPRINTS of our ancestors, as we have never seen them, thanks to breakthroughs in science. Swab traces taken from thousands of people living today, shows that, circa 80,000 years ago, a group of homo sapiens traversed the strait between Djibouti and Yemen, and became the first ever "out of africa" Sapiens. Or at least, the first whose...
Published on 2 Aug 2003 by G. Coldham

versus
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scientifically rigorous, but ill-structured.
Stephen Oppenheimer's book "Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World" is the book you must buy if you want to know about how Homo sapiens came to inhabit every corner of the globe, from the tropics to the poles; and how, since the development of human DNA profiling, geneticists have come to learn how and when it happenned.

If, like me, you think this a...
Published on 2 Feb 2010 by R. Davies


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A "MUST-READ" WORK - MIGRATIONS OF THE ANCESTORS, 2 Aug 2003
By 
G. Coldham (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
HERE ARE THE DNA FINGERPRINTS AND FOOTPRINTS of our ancestors, as we have never seen them, thanks to breakthroughs in science. Swab traces taken from thousands of people living today, shows that, circa 80,000 years ago, a group of homo sapiens traversed the strait between Djibouti and Yemen, and became the first ever "out of africa" Sapiens. Or at least, the first whose genetic traces survived in our complex mitochondrial (maternal line) genetic make-up. Some of the group, wandering eastwards along the Indian Ocean's coastlines, in a few 1000 years, reached the Sumatra area. Their tools and traces have been found in the volcanic ash of the Toba Volcano explosion of 72,000 BC, and in Australia. It was only later around 45,000 to 40,000 BC, that a branch of this so-called "Cro-Magnon" group made its impact in Europe and slowly displaced the long-established Neanderthals. They had learned new skills on millennia-long trails that were evolutionary as well as geographical, and re-wrote Earth's history.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Robust science in a charmingly written package, 31 July 2006
By 
Nick Candoros (Athens - Greece) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The book is trying to decipher one of the major questions faced by the paleontological scientific community today, namely the when, how and why Homo Sapiens, our species, managed to get to every last corner of the planet.

Such a vast problem requires, by default, a multidisciplinary approach, and that is exactly the author's method. He combines archaeological data, climate history studies and the latest in biological-genes research, in order to painfully and methodically reconstruct first the Exodus from Africa - birthplace of our species - and then the various phases of human diffusion. He proposes a single exodus from Africa theory, around 80.000 years ago and then follows the combined evidence (fossil record, tools, locations and genes) to trace the human voyage to Southern Asia, Australia, Northern Asia and Europe and finally the Americas.

The author makes a persuasive case and one may agree or disagree with his proposals or parts of them. Irrespective of that, one has to admire the robustly scientific approach to each and separate problem faced during this fascinating journey. Mr. Oppenheimer is the first to state the doubtful of his position in many instances and never passes mere hypotheses as facts. And, most important of all, since this is a book aimed at interested laymen, not scientists of the field, his prose is clear, as free of scientific jargon as possible and downright charming. The illustrations, maps and color plates complement the text in a most satisfying way, making for an excellent and very interesting read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars migration of man, 14 Sep 2008
By 
G. I. Forbes (edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
120,000years ago man(Homo Sapiens) attempted to migrate out of Africa but failed,itwas not till 80,000years ago that a sucessful migration happened .This group crossed the Red Sea and headed for India.50,000years ago the group split some going toEuroe while the restcontinued eastward 3 further splits occured to Central Asia, China and Australia.The main migration progressed via China and Russia to the Bearing straits to Alaska and the Americas by 25,000years ago and the tip of South America 12,500yeaarsago.
The author describes this journey in excellent detail through the use of mitochondrial DNA and archeology Firet class mitochondrial maps are providedas are copious explanatory notes.A book to be recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent Ancestors, 12 April 2010
By 
P. Webster "Phil W." (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The main point of Oppenheimer's book is to show that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa and that all non-African humans throughout the world today are descended from one group of Homo sapiens who left Africa 85,000 years ago.

But Oppenheimer also engages in another debate which I find very interesting. This is the question of when fully modern human brains and behaviour first appeared.

Anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) first evolved in Africa between 150,000 and 200,000 years ago, when they branched off from an earlier species of Homo. But until recently it seemed that sophisticated tools and art did not appear until 40,000 - 50,000 years ago. This led scientists like Jared Diamond and Richard Klein to claim that there must have been some sort of biological, genetic change at that more recent date which altered the structure of the brain, thus leading to fully modern behaviour, possibly through the development of language. This supposed dramatic change (which is invisible and unprovable) has been called the "Big Bang", the "Human Revolution", or the "Great Leap Forward".

Oppenheimer does a great job of shooting down this theory. Firstly, it assumes that behavioural change must be determined by biological change. But why does cultural change have to imply a change to the brain? It is more likely that the brain had become "modern" when Homo sapiens first evolved, and that the later cultural change took place for non-biological reasons. (After all, the development of farming 12,000 years ago, of cities and writing 5,000 years ago and of industry 200 years ago were also "Great Leaps Forward", but no one believes that these were the result of genetic changes to the human brain.)

Secondly, Oppenheimer shows that evidence of art and sophisticated tools has now been found which dates from much earlier than the time that the "Great Leap Forward" is supposed to have happened. For example, engraved pieces of ochre have been found in Africa dating from 75,000 years ago, and decorative beads have been found dating back 100,000 years.

Oppenheimer argues that language developed much earlier than the supposed "Human Revolution", and that humans were already fully modern when they came out of Africa. As he writes, "...humans came out of Africa already painting."

Not only are we all descended from African ancestors, but those ancestors, 150,000 years ago, were probably just as intelligent as we are now.

Phil Webster.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Scientifically rigorous, but ill-structured., 2 Feb 2010
By 
R. Davies (Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Stephen Oppenheimer's book "Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World" is the book you must buy if you want to know about how Homo sapiens came to inhabit every corner of the globe, from the tropics to the poles; and how, since the development of human DNA profiling, geneticists have come to learn how and when it happenned.

If, like me, you think this a fascinating story worth learning more about than you won't be dissapointed. The evidence available, linking DNA with stone tools/art etc is breathtaking...you really do learn exactly how our forefathers left Africa approximately 80,000 years ago and conquered the globe - and it's a much more nuanced story to what I was expecting, despite having a basic knowledge of what's covered. The author is a talented writer, and when in full flow Oppenheimer really captures the grandeur of this history.

So how come I've only given it 3 stars? Well, first off, despite his best efforts to liven up the incredibly dull world of genetics, Oppenheimer's best efforts fail to quash the tedium brought on by the endless descendants, mutations and genetic trees. By halfway through you just want to shout "Steven! It's OK, I trust you!! Just get on with the story"!! Frankly, for most readers from outside the profession he could have made much of the geneticist in-group jargon up and no-one would notice, so it shouldn't take such a sizeable chunk of the text.

Secondly, the structure to many parts and chapters of the book is bewildering. The reader is constantly asked to jump back and forth in time and place. A new theme will be introduced, given detail before being left for something else - only to be returned to later! I found myself constantly flicking back and forth a few pages to check I had read what I thought I'd read!! I appreciate that in a book that aims to answer such a big question, the author faces the difficulty of having to describe a great number of contemporaneous events, but the jumping about during the exposition on the origination of the mongoloids (for example) was a real mishmash.

Some of the blame for this must lie with the editorial staff, as must the blame for not spotting a couple of honest but fairly obvious mistakes; which without page numbers to hand, I wont mention any further.

The final problem, for which I wouldn't take any further marks, is with the copy editor. Did anyone truly read through this before publishing? If they did, they should be finding alternative employment.

Please buy this book if you're even remotely interested in the topic - you'll find it fascinating. But, and it's a big but, you'll be made to work much harder than you should to reach the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Would be better if it was shorter, 21 April 2014
By 
G. D. Kendall (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World (Kindle Edition)
I have read both this and the author's equivalent book on the origin of the peoples of the British Isles and Ireland. Both books suffer from multiple repetitions (more than two mentions for several of the statements that the author makes). This is so extreme that if you lose your place in the book, it can be difficult to establish where you got up to - are you looking at the same statement that you were just reading, or one of the other instances of it? Overall, if this amount of material were to be presented in as tight an edit as a typical New Scientist feature article, I think you'd have a good piece spanning eight or nine pages of that publication.
I'm unconvinced by some of the arguments presented in support of the author's thesis of a single exit from Africa, such as that a change in climate presented sub-Saharans with an impenetrable barrier that they could never have crossed - ever. Why the river Nile wasn't, apparently, providing a very easy path to the North at those times is a question that will be on the minds of most readers, I think. I'm also unconvinced that the smaller mountain ranges were proving to be insuperable barriers - humans are happily described as moving from out of Tibet later in the book and, of course, people have always been able to traverse mountain ranges fairly easily, without any modern tech, when the weather is good. There is a glaring absence of explanation for how the New Guineans come to have a deep separation from native Australians even though the two landmasses were joined during the recent glacial maximum. The author also seems to fall, more than once, into mistaking the journeys of individuals for the movements of human societies. The talk is of peoples 'walking from' one area to the next and 'trying to escape' a climate that's becoming colder only over the lifetime spans of a dozen or more individuals. "I say, old chap, these graphs show a long term trend towards colder winters. What say we investigate the south-west route to indo-China?" Conversely, the author seems to forget that almost all known 'beachcomber' societies, stone age or otherwise primitive, equip themselves with boats and so don't always need a land bridge to get to an island. After having spent the early part of the book detailing the rapid spread of humanity along the coastal plains of Asia and down to Australia, for some reason there is (seemingly) an assumption that any spread in the Americas must have been continent-wide and gradually seeping down to Central America before an expansion into South America. Overall, you get the impression that the range of the author's analysis is wide but he could do with freeing his mind a bit and thinking a bit more about what human societies actually do on the ground.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read., 17 July 2009
By 
Out of Eden is a truly brilliant book. It appeals to the lay reader without assuming total ignorance and/or stupidity which is often a problem with books of this type. Not only does Oppenheimer write in an interesting and engaging style, but he does not lose focus nor bore the reader with irrelevant information. He does not pretend that everything written in the book is solid fact and invites the reader to look objectively at the evidence. Importantly, Oppenheimer gives detailed reasons as to why he does not accept certain hypotheses such as the Clovis-first hypothesis.
In short, this was a highly informative and engaging read, I recommend it to anyone with an interest in genetics and 'the peopling of the world'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the amateur, 25 Aug 2009
By 
Mr. Gordon W. Triggs (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am greatly interested in the way in which our planet became populated.
I found the book greatly informative in general but for me too much of it was heavily into the science of genetics, genes, types of DNA etc. I am not and do not wish to become an academic on this subject. I am not sure if the book was written for academia or for the general interested public.
One further drawback. Some of the maps and charts were virtually unreadable due to lack of black and white colour differentiation and smallness of scale.Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the read and it has added to my general knowledge on the subject.

Gordon W. Triggs
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 2 Nov 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The title says it all, but the book provides detail and cross references on the routes and timelines of the journey. Plenty of diagrams and maps are included, but the diagrams are not particularly clear for the novice and the monotone maps do not illustrate the theories nearly as well as they could (if larger and in colour for example). It would have been helpful to have some clear timelines printed on the inside jacket. The plates are helpful, but again could be improved by a larger and more representative selection of photographs. Finally, I found that the convention of naming the common ancestors (particularly with Biblical names) made it confusing, and I wonder if there would not be a better way to convey what happened. Nevertheless, a fascinating read for anyone interested in pre-history humans.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cogently argued tour de force, 8 Feb 2012
By 
Isis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What a tour de force from Stephen Oppenheimer. With a background in genetics and in interest in population movements of the past, Oppenheimer set out to investigate how Homo sapiens populated the Earth. Did we come out of Africa or evolve on multiple continents simultaneously as the multiregionalist theory would have it? What routes did migrating populations take and what difficulties did they encounter? How can people have reached Australia before Europe? By what date did people reach the Americas? And, perhaps most fundamentally fascinating for any reader, what line am I descended from and how can we trace that line?

Oppenheimer answers all these questions and more, but he doesn't just approach things from a genetics point of view. In attempting to answer these questions, Oppenheimer takes into account the archaeological evidence and environmental factors. Some answers are Oppenheimer's theories of what he thinks is the most likely course of events, based on all the evidence (not just the genetics), and what I liked about this was that Stephen draws attention to wherever the evidence and theories are in question, and presents the reader with the alternative theories out there too - this level of transparency really credits Oppenheimer's professionalism, and lends weight to his arguments as I can see that he has considered the alternative scenarios and is not attempting to promote his own version of events by omitting mention of them - he lets the reader make up their own mind.

Oppenheimer, conscious of the fact that not all of his readership will be geneticists, really takes the time to explain the science, and for me I was clear all the way through on what he was talking about - though he adds the caveat that he uses a greatly simplified model in order to explain how the genetics work.

Fascinating topic, clearly explained, carefully considered, but most of all very cogently argued. Even if you don't agree with Oppenheimer's conclusions, it's well worth the read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Out of Eden:  The Peopling of the World
7.31
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews