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  • Almost Human

  • The Astonishing Tale of Homo Naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story
  • By: Lee Berger, John Hawks
  • Narrated by: Donald Corren
  • Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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Almost Human

By: Lee Berger,John Hawks
Narrated by: Donald Corren
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Publisher's Summary

A story of defiance and determination by a controversial scientist, this is Lee Berger's own take on finding Homo naledi, an all-new species on the human family tree and one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century.

In 2013, Lee Berger, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence, heard of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave in South Africa. He put out a call around the world for petite collaborators - men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through eight-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave forty feet underground. With this team, Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known prehominids like Lucy, the famous Australopithecus, with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains. Berger's team had discovered an all new species, and they called it Homo naledi.

The cave quickly proved to be the richest prehominid site ever discovered, full of implications that shake the very foundation of how we define what makes us human. Did this species come before, during, or after the emergence of Homo sapiens on our evolutionary tree? How did the cave come to contain nothing but the remains of these individuals? Did they bury their dead? If so, they must have had a level of self-knowledge, including an awareness of death. And yet those are the very characteristics used to define what makes us human. Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us? Berger does not hesitate to address all these questions.

Some colleagues question Berger's interpretation of this and other finds. Here, this charismatic and visionary paleontologist counters their arguments and tells his personal story: a rich narrative about science, exploration, and what it means to be human.

©2017 Lee Berger (P)2018 Blackstone Publishing
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

What listeners say about Almost Human

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Fascinating

Once again, I have binge-listened to an Audible book. I appreciated the quality of the writing and the logical explanations of the history and science of this field of discovery. The narration was also clear, but I deducted one star for some sloppy editing hiccups, where the narrator hesitated, then repeated a sentence or phrase. This occurred more than once (at least twice, maybe 3 times). A pedant like me can get hung up on such things. Overall, though, I recommend this fascinating and inspiring book!

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I was there in that cave

Lee and John's powers of description are excellent. There I was in the cave, covered in mud squeezing through the narrow gaps, visioning bones lain for eons. The cave of this trove mined for lime and discarded proved far greater worth. I saw a parallel between the human soul and the author's journey of discovery, including the team selected for dig and the meticulous respect for the life stories revealed in the bones.
What is so often glanced over, deemed of no merit, yields great worth. I don't think that was accidental, it added a quality to the book which I enjoyed.

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Oustanding

Fascinating window into the world of early humans - and the story of discovery.
Well worth the listen.

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Eureka!

I have been searching for a book like this for decades.. Conversational, plain speak for those less erudite than the boffins BUT engaging, informative, in depth, detailed, contains the bitchiness at the pointy end of academia, self-deprecating , not didactic, novelistic, and a bloody damned good read/listen.

Narrator is perfect, no american drawl here.

in short, A GEM!

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Bit confusing, some technical issues

Performance - Sometimes the recording repeats a sentence, like a broken record.

Story - Inconsistent treatment of early humans (E.g. the author claims certain species were the first "people" rather than animals, then still uses the word "it" to refer to them). Missing some basic context (E.g. while explaining the broad evolution of humanity, the author focuses on Africa before stating that people mixed with Neanderthals, without acknowledging where they came from). Can make it hard to follow.

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Brilliant

I first came across Lee Berger on a YouTube video that he did during the start of 2020 in the fossil vault of the Wits University. This book brings to the table more information on the discoveries that Lee has made. I urge anyone that reads this book to also go and check out the videos he did on the fossils he discussed in this brilliant book.

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fascinating

Fascinating tale. I couldn't stop listening to this. told beautifully and easy to understand.

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