The human Race: The Quest to Find Our Earliest Ancestors
Ann Gibbons has been a correspondent for Science magazine for more than a decade, where she has specialized in writing about evolution. She also is the author of The First Human: The Race Discover Our Earliest Ancestors (Doubleday 2006), which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times best science and technology book prize in 2007.
With a name like Gibbons, it was perhaps inevitable that she would write about primate evolution, including the evolution of humans. As part of her research, she has logged many hours observing highly evolved scientists in their familiar habitats, whether upright in the lab sequencing DNA or prone on the ground excavating fossils from their ancient graves.
As part of her field work, she has camped with anthropologists in Kenya, sifting fossils from dawn until dusk in the Turkana Desert and trekking over the undulating hills of the Baringo Basin and Olorgesailie. She has trailed a medical anthropologist studying the health effects of deforestation in Papua New Guinea where the local villagers called her "Missus Belongem Dr. Bill: (in Tok-Pisin, or Pidgin English). She has explored the tributaries of the Sepik River in a dugout canoe, climbed the volcanic slopes of Java, and ventured into the Aboriginal homeland of Arnhem Land in northern Australia to see ancient rock art. She has sequenced DNA at Woods Hole, built phylogenetic trees on computers, and logged many hours in dark conference rooms watching Power Point lectures. The result of all this exploration has been hundreds of news stories and features on topics ranging from the evolution of viruses and DNA to the discovery of fossils of feathered dinosaurs and early human ancestors.
She also has taught science writing at Carnegie Mellon University and has written articles for the New York Times, Discover, Insight travel guides, and other publications. Before she joined the staff of Science, Gibbons was an award-winning science writer for newspapers in San Diego and Palo Alto, California, where her most memorable assignment was to fly with the Blue Angels at the Naval Air Station Miramar in San Diego (notably, without getting air sickness). She is sad to say that all the afternoon dailies where she worked have gone extinct.
A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, she has been a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Science Journalism Fellow at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. She is a native of Berkeley, California who spent many years of her childhood living in Spain (where she went on her first fossil collecting trip at the age of 11), the Netherlands and Japan. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.