Nicholas Wade, a long-time columnist for the New York Times Science Times section and author of “Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors,” will speak about his book and the evolution of man on Monday, March 5 at Rider University. The event is free and open to the public.

The book, published by Penguin Press in April, 2006, chronicles the complete human story from before the dawn of civilization. Wade analyzes the recent explosion of findings in a host of fields, including linguistics, archeology and paleontology, to dissolve the mysteries of human existence and reveal our complete genetic history.

The book answers such questions as: When did language emerge? When and why did we start wearing clothing? How exactly did our ancestors leave Africa, and how did they defeat the more physically powerful Neanderthals who threatened their existence? How did human nature change during the thirty-five thousand years between the emergence of fully modern humans and the first settlements?

“Before the Dawn” goes far beyond an explanation of our earliest origins; in a chapter on genetics, Wade explains why we are the way we are today — and discusses our powers to diagnose illnesses and find new cures and treatments, while also deconstructing the human behavior that leads to war, inspires religion and trade, and pursues monogamous relationships.

Before writing for the New York Times, Wade was the deputy editor of Nature magazine in London, one of the world’s most prestigious science publications, and a reporter for Science magazine, the world’s premier science journal. He is the author or co-author of four previous books.

“Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors,” Monday, March 5, 5 p.m., Rider University’s Bart Luedeke Center Theater. Book event with Nicholas Wade, author and long-time columnist for the new York Times Science Times section. 609-896-5092.

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