In Search of our Ancient Ancestors
In this publication, renowned genealogist, Anthony Adolph, tackles the difficult by tracing the origins of modern man through science and mythology, from as early the Big Bang. It is quite the ambitious undertaking, but I must admit that Adolph succeeded in accomplishing his goal. The research is partitioned into five separate sections, each of which focuses on a specific theme.
The first part crams over 13 billion years of history into five chapters. Following an introduction fitting for such research, highlighting Herodotus and the Bible where appropriate, Anthony Adolph turns his attention to the creation of our Universe up to the very end of the dinosaur age. The early descriptions of Earth illustrate a time of climatic turbulence and chaos, some periods unable to sustain any form of life while others ended what was already struggling to survive. Although, there would come a time where the earliest of microbes form and provide the first building blocks of life to come. And it is that very same early life that would venture out of the seas and onto the sometimes barren land.
In the following section we begin to read about the mammalian age or the Cenozoic Era approximately 65 million years ago. Primates emerge from the Tree of Evolutionary Life. Some would diverge into separate branches of the same tree. Others will evolve into the Neanderthal. From Africa, these early hominids would adopt a semi nomadic lifestyle and travel beyond the continent, most likely in search of food.
Next on the list is the appearance of the Cro-Magnon, the earliest modern human, in Europe approximately 45 thousand years ago. Being closer to us in time, a lot more is known about this early man. From their diets, tools, the way they socialized amongst themselves and possibly warred with the others, the methods by which they hunted, and possibly the birth of their imagination and eventual spirituality, mainly highlighted by their primitive forms of art.
In the fourth section, the narrative looks at the birth of settlement, cultivation, and domestication of animals. This is where civilization came to be as we rose out of the Stone Age, through the Bronze Age, and into the Iron Age; bringing with us a collective and often inaccurate history of our ancestors. This “history” formed the foundation of our early mythologies. These mythologies would continue to inspire the later generations.
It is in the fifth section that Adolph spends a considerable amount of time sharing these mythologies. It is immediately obvious that a lot of these stories could have shared a more common origin. One chapter does stand out and that is the one which would lead to the legend of Brutus of Troy. It is the topic of Anthony Adolph’s more recent and highly enjoyable publication, Brutus of Troy: And the Quest for the Ancestry of the British.
From the very start of this book, each new section brings more details than the last and with good reason. The closer we come to the present, the more we understand that part of history. Much of this content is nothing new. It is based on generations of academic and scientific research with a bit of mythology sprinkled in, to rationalize early human thought and interpretation. I will admit that there were portions of this read where the content did feel a bit dry but that was primarily due to Adolph sharing more scientific facts to validate the research. Do not let that detail deter you from picking up a copy of this publication. I still enjoyed it nonetheless. Still not convinced? It has recently come to my attention that Anthony Adolph has started a short documentary series solely based around this publication. Currently, the first section of the book has been posted and it was quite entertaining and fun to watch. Aside from the book, I also recommend checking the videos out on YouTube.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention. A couple of pages at the very end of the book have been allocated specifically for the reader to trace their own family tree. It definitely does help to put things into perspective and visualize how far back we can trace our ancestry.