In this ground-breaking book Chris Stringer sets out to answer all the big questions in the debate about our origins. How can we define modern humans, and how can we recognise our beginnings in the fossil and archaeological record? How can we accurately date fossils, including ones beyond the range of radiocarbon dating? What do the genetic data really tell us? Were our origins solely in Africa? Are modern humans a distinct species from ancient people such as the Neanderthals? And what contact did our ancestors have with them? How can we recognise modern humans behaviourally, and were traits such as complex language and art unique to modern humans? What forces shaped the origins of modern humans - were they climatic, dietary, social, or even volcanic? What drove the dispersals of modern humans from Africa, and how did our species spread over the globe? How did regional features evolve, and how significant are they? What exactly was the 'Hobbit' of the island of Flores, and how was it related to us? Has human evolution stopped, or are we still evolving? What can we expect from future research on our origins? This book will make every reader think about what it means to be human.