ORIGINS: How the Earth Shaped Human History

When we talk about human history, we focus on great leaders, revolutions, and technological advances. But how has the Earth itself determined our destiny? How has our planet made us?

As a species we are shaped by our environment. Geological forces drove our evolution in East Africa; mountainous terrain led to the development of democracy in Greece; and today voting behaviour in the United States follows the bed of an ancient sea. The human story is the story of these forces, from plate tectonics and climate change, to atmospheric circulation and ocean currents.

By taking us through millennia of human history, and billions of years into our planet’s past, Professor Lewis Dartnell tells us the ultimate origin story. When we reach the point where history becomes science we see a vast web of connections that underwrites our modern world and helps us face the challenges of the future.

From the cultivation of the first crops to the founding of modern states, Origins reveals the Earth’s awesome impact on the shape of human civilizations.


This event is based on my book, ORIGINS, which is  a Sunday Times bestseller, on iNews’ 11 best popular science books for 2019, and a Mail on Sunday recommended science and nature book.


If you would like to book this talk please email


Visit the ORIGINS book main website:


‘Origins by Lewis Dartnell stands comparison with Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens… A thrilling piece of Big History’

‘Dartnell’s story is beautifully written and organized. His infectious curiosity and enthusiasm tug the reader from page to page, synthesizing geology, oceanography, meteorology, geography, palaeontology, archaeology and political history in a manner that recalls Jared Diamond’s classic 1997 book Guns, Germs, and Steel.’

“Dartnell’s approach is encyclopedic, marked by both a broad sweep and a passion for details.”

‘Dartnell has found the perfect blend of science and history. This is a book that will not only challenge our preconceptions about the past, but should make us think very carefully about humanity’s future’

One comment

  1. Ed Melik. Esq.

    A fascinating read, to say the least! There is one very crucial component in Professor Dartnell’s analogy to the geological relations directly connecting cultural, intellectual, and political influences that have resulted in the complex socio-political-economic mess of the present world as we know it, but the validity of time and events during the evolution of our cultures as we know today is a questionable factor. No carbon dating or for that matter, any scientific research has yet assuredly claimed the accuracy of its finds. Therefore, I would accept the analogy of Professor Dartnell’s thesis as a possiblity of the events yet to be validated by the evolving science of geology and human history.

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