The Incredible Human Journey

Well known as a TV presenter, Alice Roberts ( has travelled the world – from Ethiopian desert to Malay peninsula and from Russian steppes to Amazon basin – in order to understand the challenges that early humans faced as they tried to settle continents. On her travels she has witnessed some of the daunting and brutal challenges our ancestors had to face: mountains, deserts, oceans, changing climates, terrifying giant beasts and volcanoes. But she discovers that perhaps the most serious threat of all came from other humans. When our ancestors set out from Africa there were already two other species of human on the planet: Neanderthal in Europe and Homo erectus in Asia. Both (contrary to popular perception) were intelligent, adept at making tools and weapons, and were long adapted to their environments. So, Roberts asks, why did only Homo sapiens survive?


Part detective story, part travelogue, and drawing on the latest genetic and archaeological discoveries, Roberts examines how our ancestors evolved physically in response to these challenges. She finds out how our colour, shape, size, diet, disease resistance and even athletic ability have been shaped by a range of environments. She also demonstrates how closely related we all are. Dotted throughout this lively book are many of the author’s own sketches and photographs from her travels. This is a wonderful book to savour.


Alice Roberts is Professor of Public Engagement in Science at the University of Birmingham


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384 pages in Bloomsbury

First published 2010

ISBN  978-1408802885


Professor Alice Roberts

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