Among the riot of species that have lived on Earth over the last four billion years, only we can ponder our own origins — and it often angers the blood.

We’re long past any serious debate that humanity evolved from apes in Africa a few million years ago, but the scientists looking for ever older bones of our ancestors always seem to be squabbling. A few pages into Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind, the journalist Kermit Pattison concurs in his riveting account of the discovery of.....

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