Yves Coppens

How the First Humans Lived Publication date : September 16, 2010

Yves Coppens is a palaeontologist. An honorary professor at the Collège de France and a member of the French Academy of Sciences, he is internationally recognised as the discoverer of the hominid Lucy.

“From earliest times, Man’s fascination with everything around him led him to engage in a multitude of experiments, using trial and error as rigorously as any scientific researcher. Gradually, humans improved the quality of their food, shelter, tools and clothing. Their evolution was determined by their discoveries, which ensured survival and often comfort. Yet, thousands of years later, human evolution can also be measured by their sensitivity and by their refusal to be satisfied with no more than what is necessary,” writes Yves Coppens.

With the storyteller’s talent he is known for, and with his scientific exactness, Yves Coppens recounts how, during a long period lasting three million years, about 100,000 humans from tropical Africa travelled, first through the Ancient world, then over the entire surface of the globe. Then, after some 200,000 generations, he describes how they created a myriad of great cultures, as attested by the diversity of their tools, the complexity of their eating habits and the variety of their habitats and clothing.

• Beautifully illustrated and vividly told, this chronological history of the first humans covers the foremost events, with a special focus on major developments in tool-making, habitat, food and clothing.

• This is the chronological follow-up of the illustrated large-format book L’Histoire des singes, published in 2009, in the series “Yves Coppens Tells the Story of Our Ancestors”.

• Coming next in the same series: Prehistoric Art.