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Publisher's Summary

"Extraordinary.... This inspirational autobiography stands among the finest scientist memoirs." (New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice)

Meave Leakey’s thrilling, high-stakes memoir - written with her daughter Samira - encapsulates her distinguished life and career on the front lines of the hunt for our human origins, a quest made all the more notable by her stature as a woman in a highly competitive, male-dominated field.

In The Sediments of Time, preeminent paleoanthropologist Meave Leakey brings us along on her remarkable journey to reveal the diversity of our early pre-human ancestors and how past climate change drove their evolution. She offers a fresh account of our past, as recent breakthroughs have allowed new analysis of her team’s fossil findings and vastly expanded our understanding of our ancestors. 

Meave’s own personal story is replete with drama, from thrilling discoveries on the shores of Lake Turkana to run-ins with armed herders and every manner of wildlife, to raising her children and supporting her renowned paleoanthropologist husband Richard Leakey’s ambitions amidst social and political strife in Kenya. When Richard needs a kidney, Meave provides him with hers, and when he asks her to assume the reins of their field expeditions after he loses both legs in a plane crash, the result of likely sabotage, Meave steps in. 

The Sediments of Time is the summation of a lifetime of Meave Leakey’s efforts; it is a compelling picture of our human origins and climate change, as well as a high-stakes story of ambition, struggle, and hope. 

"A fascinating glimpse into our origins. Meave Leakey is a great storyteller, and she presents new information about the far off time when we emerged from our ape-like ancestors to start the long journey that has led to our becoming the dominant species on Earth. That story, woven into her own journey of research and discovery, gives us a book that is informative and captivating, one that you will not forget." (Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute)

©2020 Meave Leakey and Samira Leakey (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Sediments of Time

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Brilliant!

I absolutely loved this book. So captivating and informative. I have recommended it to several friends. Meave narration is so easy to listen to and the long scientific terms just flow effortlessly as she weaves the tale. I now want to go to Kenya just to visit the places and institutions that she spoke of. Mesmerizing

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Where We Came From

There are some science-heavy parts where I drafted off, but mostly I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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One of the top ten books of my life. I’m 85.

I liked the path from fossil recovery to the need and subsequent development of social groups. The capacity of these groups led to greater resource use, access to more protein hence bigger brains. The book moves informatively to the present time and possible outcomes for our species.

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I highly recommend this book

It has been an absolute pleasure to listen to ... we have so much to learn about our history...