A short history of humanity A new history of old Europe

Johannes Krause, 1980-

Book - 2021

"In this eye-opening book, Johannes Krause, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and journalist Thomas Trappe offer a new way of understanding our past, present, and future. Krause is a pioneer in the revolutionary new science of archaeogenetics, archaeology augmented by revolutionary DNA sequencing technology, which has allowed scientists to uncover a new version of human history reaching back more than 100,000 years. Using this technology to re-examine human... bones from the distant past, Krause has been able to map not only the genetic profiles of the dead, but also their ancient journeys. In this concise narrative he tells us their long-forgotten stories of migration and intersection. It's well known that many human populations carry genetic material from Neanderthals; but, as Krause and his colleagues discovered, we also share DNA with a newly uncovered human form, the Denisovans. We know now that a wave of farmers from Anatolia migrated into Europe 8,000 years ago, essentially displacing the dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunter-gatherers who preceded them. The farmer DNA is one of the core genetic components of contemporary Europeans and European Americans. Though the first people to cross into North and South America have long been assumed to be primarily of East Asian descent, we now know that they also share DNA with contemporary Europeans and European Americans. Genetics has an unfortunate history of smuggling in racist ideologies, but our most cutting-edge science tells us that genetic categories in no way reflect national borders. Krause vividly introduces us to prehistoric cultures such as the Aurignacians, innovative artisans who carved animals, people, and even flutes from bird bones more than 40,000 years ago; the Varna, who buried their loved ones with gold long before the Pharaohs of Egypt; and the Gravettians, big-game hunters who were Europe's most successful early settlers until they perished in the ice age. This informed retelling of the human epic confirms that immigration and genetic mingling have always defined our species and that who we are is a question of culture not genetics"--

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2nd Floor New Shelf 599.935/Krause (NEW SHELF) Due May 31, 2022
Subjects
Published
New York : Random House [2021]
Edition
First US edition
Language
English
German
Item Description
Translated from the German.
Physical Description
xi, 274 pages : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN
9780593229422
0593229428
Main Author
Johannes Krause, 1980- (author)
Other Authors
Thomas Trappe (author), Caroline Waight (translator)
  • A new science is born
  • Persistent immigrants
  • Immigrants are the future
  • Parallel societies
  • Single young men
  • Europeans find a language
  • Refugee ships on the Mediterranean
  • They bring the plague
  • New World, new pandemics
  • Conclusion: the global melting pot.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Krause (archaeogenetics, Max Planck Inst.), who helped discover the ancient Denisova hominins in Russia, and journalist Trappe have written a splendid account of human origins, migrations, and pathogens from the perspective of recent DNA evidence. The book's scope is immense. It begins hundreds of thousands of years ago, mapping the migrations of Pleistocene humans, including Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans of the Russian steppes. The book then goes into the origins of civilization, aligning DNA evidence with the spread of Indo-European languages from ancient Iran. The second part of the book focuses on the origins of human diseases—particularly relevant in the COVID-19 era. Readers will find new information, such as the occurrence of plague in Stone Age societies. Krause has firsthand knowledge of this evidence, having performed some of the leading laboratory research in the genetics of human prehistory. Co-author Trappe uses easily understandable language to describe subjects that might otherwise be overly technical or scientific. What makes this book unique among other world histories is its focus on evidence newly acquired from DNA matter, which provides new avenues of understanding the human past. VERDICT Scientific yet accessible, this original book offers much insight to readers of European history.—Jeffrey Meyer, Iowa Wesleyan Univ. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Krause, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and journalist Trappe track the genetic history of Europe in this fascinating exploration of early human migration and humankind's millennia-long struggle with deadly pathogens. They begin with Krause's 2010 discovery—by way of a finger bone found in a Siberian cave—of a group of archaic humans independent from Neanderthals. From there, the authors detail the various migrations that followed this genetic split half a million years ago; the warming temperatures that led to the rise of farming in Anatolia at the beginning of the Holocene period nearly 12,000 years ago; and the takeover of Europe by horse-riding steppe peoples about 4,000 years ago. With DNA analysis and other modern scientific methods, the authors note, researchers can piece together the past by tracking the spread of diseases such as bubonic plague and syphilis during human migrations. Krause and Trappe make complicated scientific processes accessible to lay leaders, and offer hope that the ongoing study of ancient genetics and the development of new technologies such as genome editing will help to fight pathogens including Covid-19. The result is a captivating and informative look at the origins and future of humanity. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A founding director of the Max Planck Institute and the editor-in-chief of Berlin’s Tagesspiegel introduce the revolutionary science of archaeogenetics while explaining how new DNA sequencing technologies are revealing essential details about human evolution. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"In this eye-opening book, Johannes Krause, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and journalist Thomas Trappe offer a new way of understanding our past, present, and future. Krause is a pioneer in the revolutionary new science of archaeogenetics, archaeology augmented by revolutionary DNA sequencing technology, which has allowed scientists to uncover a new version of human history reaching back more than 100,000 years. Using this technology to re-examine human bones from the distant past, Krause has been able to map not only the genetic profiles of the dead, but also their ancient journeys. In this concise narrative he tells us their long-forgotten stories of migration and intersection. It's well known that many human populations carry genetic material from Neanderthals; but, as Krause and his colleagues discovered, we also share DNA with a newly uncovered human form, the Denisovans. We know now that a wave of farmers from Anatolia migrated into Europe 8,000 years ago, essentially displacing the dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunter-gatherers who preceded them. The farmer DNA is one of the core genetic components of contemporary Europeans and European Americans. Though the first people to cross into North and South America have long been assumed to be primarily of East Asian descent, we now know that they also share DNA with contemporary Europeans and European Americans. Genetics has an unfortunate history of smuggling in racist ideologies, but our most cutting-edge science tells us that genetic categories in no way reflect national borders. Krause vividly introduces us to prehistoric cultures such as the Aurignacians, innovative artisans who carved animals, people, and even flutes from bird bones more than 40,000 years ago; the Varna, who buried their loved ones with gold long before the Pharaohs of Egypt; and the Gravettians, big-game hunters who were Europe's most successful early settlers until they perished in the ice age. This informed retelling of the human epic confirms that immigration and genetic mingling have always defined our species and that who we are is a question of culture not genetics"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“Thrilling . . . a bracing summary of what we have learned [from] ‘archaeogenetics’—the study of ancient DNA . . . Krause and Trappe capture the excitement of this young field.”—Kyle Harper, The Wall Street Journal

Johannes Krause is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and a brilliant pioneer in the field of archaeogenetics—archaeology augmented by DNA sequencing technology—which has allowed scientists to reconstruct human history reaching back hundreds of thousands of years before recorded time. 

In this surprising account, Krause and journalist Thomas Trappe rewrite a fascinating chapter of this history, the peopling of Europe, that takes us from the Neanderthals and Denisovans to the present. We know now that a wave of farmers from Anatolia migrated into Europe 8,000 years ago, essentially displacing the dark-skinned, blue-eyed hunter-gatherers who preceded them. This Anatolian farmer DNA is one of the core genetic components of people with contemporary European ancestry. Archaeogenetics has also revealed that indigenous North and South Americans, though long thought to have been East Asian, also share DNA with contemporary Europeans. 

Krause and Trappe vividly introduce us to the prehistoric cultures of the ancient Europeans: the Aurignacians, innovative artisans who carved flutes and animal and human forms from bird bones more than 40,000 years ago; the Varna, who buried their loved ones with gold long before the Pharaohs of Egypt; and the Gravettians, big-game hunters who were Europe’s most successful early settlers until they perished in the ice age. 

Genetics has earned a reputation for smuggling racist ideologies into science, but cutting-edge science makes nonsense of eugenics and “pure” bloodlines. Immigration and genetic exchanges have always defined our species; who we are is a question of culture, not biological inheritance. This revelatory book offers us an entirely new way to understand ourselves, both past and present.