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Drawing on the legacy of knowledge gathered by his parents, Louis and Mary Leakey, at Olduvai Gorge, Richard Leakey's excavations at Lake Turkana in northern Kenya suggest that perhaps three or even more species of primitive hominids existed simultaneously in the same geographic region millions of years ago. Why "our line" - Homo - survived while others vanished is the central question of this pioneering and exciting study of human evolution. Equally important is what this new information tells us about humankind's future as well as our early history. ORIGINS disputes popular writers who argue that human conflict has always existed, because, they say, aggression is deeply rooted in our genes. Such a view has little to do with scientific facts, and Richard Leakey (b. 1944) and Roger Lewin (b. 1944) show that the key to the transformation of an ape-like creature into a human being was the ability to share in a complex social context. This quality of cooperation demonstrated by early man's long history of peaceful hunting and gathering - not unbridled human aggression - is the basic feature of humanity. Even before members of the Homo lineage began moving to Asia and Europe, human evolution had accelerated in Africa. With Leakey as guide, the reader is taken into the field to observe directly the team effort involved in every phase of anthropology - from site selection to the analysis and reconstruction of fossil specimens. The implications of ORIGINS go far beyond the coldly scientific aspects of "stones and bones", suggesting how knowledge of our common ancestors may assist us in planning for the future survival of the species.