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The Handshake


Ella Al-Shamahi


For the first time, this quirky and engaging history reveals the secrets of one of our most ancient social gestures

Friends do it, strangers do it and so do chimpanzees - and it's not just deeply embedded in our history and culture, it may even be written in our DNA. The humble handshake, it turns out, has a rich and surprising history.

So let's join palaeoanthropologist Ella Al-Shamahi as she embarks on a funny and fascinating voyage of discovery - from the handshake's origins (at least seven million years ago) all the way to its sudden disappearance in March 2020. Drawing on new research, anthropological insights and first-hand experience, she'll reveal how this most friendly of gestures has played a role in everything from meetings with uncontacted tribes to political assassinations - and what it tells us about the enduring power of human contact.

Because the story of the handshake ... is far from over.

Ella Al-Shamahi is a National Geographic Explorer, paleoanthropologist, evolutionary biologist and stand-up comic. She specialises in Neanderthals, caves and expeditions in hostile, disputed and unstable territories. She is a TV presenter, a TED 2019 speaker and has taken 4 shows up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She has degrees in Genetics, Taxonomy and Biodiversity and is undertaking her PhD in Palaeoanthropology.

Category:  History, Popular culture
ISBN:  9781788167802
Publisher:  Profile Books
On sale:  April 2021
List price:  R275 
Format:  Hardback
eBook ISBN 
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