ORIGIN by Jennifer Raff
(Twelve, 2020)


by Jennifer Raff

20,000 years ago, the first people crossed the great land bridge from what is now Siberia, into Western Alaska, in the top north western corner of the Americas. Who these people were, how and why they made the crossing, how they dispersed south, and how they lived, has been a subject of deep fascination and controversy. In 2013, the 8,000 year-old remains of two children, ritually buried with the bone fore-shafts and stone heads of hunting lances, were excavated from a dig at a site now called Upward Sun River in Alaska. Genetic Anthropologist Jennifer Raff was part of the team that discovered that these children had DNA not typical of contemporary peoples of the region. In fact, they belonged to a group that had remained in Beringia after Native Americans began their migration southward. Jennifer Raff will use the stories hidden in the genomes of ancient people like the Sun River children to tell the 20,000 year human history of the Americas. This is a history book; but also a book about the cutting edge of genetics, and how the two disciplines are becoming deeply intertwined, by a leading scientist in the field.