Crossroads lecture: 'Early Humans and You: Discovering the Past through our Genes'

Writer Steve Olson. - Contributed photo.
Writer Steve Olson.
— image credit: Contributed photo.

The Orcas Crossroads Fall Lecture Series concludes on Saturday night, Oct. 29, with “Early Humans and You: Discovering the Past through our Genes.

"In this lecture, award-winning writer Steve Olson describes one of the most profound insights to be gleaned from the Human Genome Project:  the remarkable unity of the human species at the genetic level," organizers say.

The lecture is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night at Orcas Center, followed by a question-and-answer period and reception with the speaker.

For more than 30 years Steve Olson has written about topics of our time including genetics, race, human origins, evolution, climate change, education, talent, competition, and punk rock music.

Olson’s book "Mapping Human History: Genes, Race and our Common Origins" uses the genetic differences found in people today to reconstruct the last 150,000 years of human history. Olson reviewed decades of research literature and traveled internationally to meet with leading research scientists who’ve worked in this area to synthesize scientific results into his story.

"By revealing the biological roots of our similarities and differences, Olson offers new ways of thinking about race, ethnicity, ancestry, and language," organizers say.

"Mapping Human History" was nominated for the 2002 National Book Award, won the Science-in-Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers, and was named a Best Science Book of 2002 by Discover magazine.

Crossroads Committee member Donna Gerardi Riordan believes that Olson’s Saturday night lecture may be of special interest to Orcas audiences.

“People on Orcas generally come from somewhere else, and in our seeming diversity there is also lots of commonality. Our genes are the best window into really understanding commonalities and differences,” she said.

The purchase of tickets, available at the Orcas Island Library, Darvill’s Bookstore, or online at, helps to fund the series.

Remaining tickets, if available, can be obtained at the door. Complimentary tickets are also available in advance at the Library and the Senior Center.

The Orcas Crossroads Lecture Series is supported by the Crossroads Associates Circle, Orcas Island Public Library, the Friends of Orcas Island Public Library, the Daniel and Margaret Carper Foundation and individual contributors.

More information is online at














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