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The Big Mysteries of Human Evolution  By  cover art

The Big Mysteries of Human Evolution

By: Dr. Elen Feuerriegel,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Dr. Elen Feurriegel
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Publisher's Summary

Who are we? Where did we come from?  

These aren’t flippant questions, in the least. For millennia, poets, artists, philosophers, politicians, historians, scientists, and spiritual leaders have grappled with them because their answers could hold the key to explaining the complexities of human existence.  

Creating a coherent picture of our earliest relatives can be a challenging undertaking. Even with recent scientific developments and archaeological discoveries, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the evolution of the human species. Crucial pieces of the puzzle are still missing, and every new discovery—fossil or otherwise—has the potential to rewrite our understanding of our own family tree. 

In 10 riveting episodes, paleoanthropologist Elen Feuerriegel takes you on an unrivaled tour of the human fossil record in search of the biological and behavioral underpinnings of our very “humanness”. Big Mysteries of Human Evolution draws on current research to highlight (and maybe even help solve) these and other enduring mysteries about our closest ancestors: how the first bipeds took their first steps, how tools gave humans a cutting edge over other species, how early social groups (and diets) were structured, and how modern humans evolved to become the dominant species on the planet.  

Think of this Audible Original as On the Origin of Species—updated for the 21st century.

©2022 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2022 Audible Originals, LLC.

Publisher's Summary

Who are we? Where did we come from?  

These aren’t flippant questions, in the least. For millennia, poets, artists, philosophers, politicians, historians, scientists, and spiritual leaders have grappled with them because their answers could hold the key to explaining the complexities of human existence.  

Creating a coherent picture of our earliest relatives can be a challenging undertaking. Even with recent scientific developments and archaeological discoveries, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the evolution of the human species. Crucial pieces of the puzzle are still missing, and every new discovery—fossil or otherwise—has the potential to rewrite our understanding of our own family tree. 

In 10 riveting episodes, paleoanthropologist Elen Feuerriegel takes you on an unrivaled tour of the human fossil record in search of the biological and behavioral underpinnings of our very “humanness”. Big Mysteries of Human Evolution draws on current research to highlight (and maybe even help solve) these and other enduring mysteries about our closest ancestors: how the first bipeds took their first steps, how tools gave humans a cutting edge over other species, how early social groups (and diets) were structured, and how modern humans evolved to become the dominant species on the planet.  

Think of this Audible Original as On the Origin of Species—updated for the 21st century.

©2022 Audible Originals, LLC (P)2022 Audible Originals, LLC.

What listeners say about The Big Mysteries of Human Evolution

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Observational handicap of sexism

This is a well researched history of the study of evolution.

Conclusions and inferences are presented in a strongly chauvinistic bigoted feminist perspective.

The author Dr. Feurriegel on a few different occasions denies sexual dimorphism in the modern human. Also stating that the evolution of a species through biological pressure and sexual dimorphism is a sexist and derogatory point of view.

Although it could be said with utter confidence that Dr. Feurriegel has never given a lecture in a structure nor walked on a public walk. That was physically constructed or built by female body labor. Dr. Feurriegel fails to be capable of observing quantitative sexual dimorphism in the modern human. How can we trust or value conclusions and insight into the development of the spices when conclusions are so heavily biased by a social agenda of sexism. And a complete denial of diversity. If we are all the same and all differences are insignificant than how do we define change even if we choose to call change evolution.



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Fascinating lecture

I found the information eye opening and I will probably listen to this lecture again !

5 people found this helpful

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Tons of great info

Surprisingly information-dense for a relatively short Audible original. Great for someone interested in in-depth discussion of hominin evolution. The narration can be a little fast-paced given the complexity of the discussion, but is comprehensible because it is very well-organized. Fascinating and fun!

5 people found this helpful

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Excellent listen

This a refreshing modern introduction to biological anthropology. It’s not overly complicated or too long. Would recommend.

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Fantastic and refreshingly unbiased assessment

The analysis and assessment of information in this audio book is fantastic. Unbiased analysis and interpretation of material throughout which is the most magnificent thing in todays world of constantly being told what and how to think. If only everyone could read this and have a better understanding.

1 person found this helpful

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Outstanding presentation facilitates learning

Outstanding presentation which builds upon clear introductory material facilitates learning all the way to the present state-of-the-art in evolution research.

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Not the best course about human evolution

I have learned some interesting facts from this course. But I can't say that all of this info is true or non-biased.
For example, the author tells that meat eating didn't change our anathomy.
I know, that when our ancesters encorporate meat in their diet, their colins' length decreased, their teeth changed, and their digestion changed too.
Nowdays, humans need B12 vitamin and some other nutrients, that are available only from animal prosucts like meat, fish and eggs. So, I don't think her piont of view is correct. Eating meat changed us.
The author also talks about brain size change, but there is no info about what brain parts got bigger/smaller and why.
And there is no any conclusion about this or about any other thing she is talking about.
This is not a course. This is a collection of facts.

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Fascinating

A fascinating overview of human evolution by one of the members of the Rising Star team that went down into the treacherous cave to recover the skeletal remains of Homo naleti and ancient hominid species. Outstanding and fun!

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Should have covered more

It's a pity, we heard nothing about Australian paleolithic past from an Australian paleoanthropologist. A pdf would also help.

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Fascinating subject

The author approaches the subject with clarity, logic and a welcome touch of humor. She answers questions I didn’t know I had and offers her theories in a non pretentious way. We are left with the understanding that there is still much to discover and that today’s theories may be discarded with tomorrow’s big find.

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  • Ian Smith
  • 08-27-22

Fascinating content, poorly narrated

I was fascinated by what Dr Feurriegel had to say in this series of lectures, and the story of how we evolved, which she acknowledges can only be based on the latest information and reasonable guesses to fill in the blank bits.
It seemed a bit repetitive at times, not helped by the rather monotone and distinctly fast narration. It sounded very like the lectures were being read from a script, rather than delivered to engage and interest an audience.

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  • ashley
  • 11-17-22

good

very good educational lectures! would 100% recommend to anyone who's interested in human evolution!

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  • Dilly Grimwood
  • 11-04-22

So what’s the time now then?

Spoken so clearly and at a perfect pace that I was easily digesting and visualising all that was being said and forming layers upon layers of mental mapping to the point that I was Googling like mad to try and find relatable pictures and actually bought a wall map to stick and scribble on when I listen again. Certain worth another listen. Accompanying materials would have been amazing with this.
An absolute wealth of information of our evidential journey to here, yet in just under 6 hours?!
I am sure it could have been longer, of course, while at the same time, even having some knowledge of this complex and debated area, this is kept to the point and digestible for anyone at any level of interest or learning, it does the job in concluding itself the best a topic can that is not concluded yet along the way gives plentiful avenues for exploring any areas of peaked interest.

Superb, recommend, if studying anything that includes human evolution this would be a great accompaniment to aid in learning.

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  • SheppeyMan
  • 08-14-22

Very accessible and recommended

I listened to this following hearing Steve Brusattes "The Rise and Reign of the Mammals" (and before that his "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.) Undoubtedly this series of lectures are a logical extension of the subject of evolution looking at our forebears which are accessible and informative which I commend to others who, like myself, are learning about this fascinating issue.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-25-22

Blew my mind!

never had an interest in the topic before. the way the book is presented though engaged me from beginning to end.

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  • salman
  • 05-01-22

Simple and precise

Thanks Dr. Ellen Feurriegel for simplifying some of the most fundamental and pertinent concepts of human-evolution in easy and simple to understand language.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-06-22

Loved it!

A succinct and interesting text, great listening! Recommend to anyone interested in anthropology and history.

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  • Kaelem
  • 05-18-22

Facinating and complex

I'll definetely need to listen to this several times to learn all it teaches.

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  • Kay
  • 05-17-22

Gabble

Content was brilliant! The narrator alternately spoke well and gabbled over the content making it frustrating and virtually impossible to listen to.
With a different narrator this would have been a five across the board…. What a shame.

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  • richard Carver
  • 05-14-22

good summary

unimpressive start but good in the later parts with excellent discussion of humans over time

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  • tim frodsham
  • 05-08-22

super interesting

Awesome work! Very well researched. Reveals a richly changing tapestry over vast timescales and a global scope. Brilliantly narrated- more please!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-03-22

So interesting

Wonderful information delivered at break neck speed. Needs a careful listen to really understand