Darlene Foster's Blog

Natural Selection, Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series by Jacqui Murray

Posted on: November 8, 2022

I am pleased to be part of Jacqui Murray’s Book Blast for her third and final book in the Dawn of Humanity series, Natural Selection. Once again Jacqui has penned an exciting story about our prehistoric ancestors. She will also share with us how early humans told time. The research Jacqui does for these books is phenomenal.

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribe members captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events. Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:
Title and author: Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray
Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: Anneli Purchase
Available print or digital) at: http://a-fwd.com/asin=B0B9KPM5BW

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to the United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/
Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams
Website: https://jacquimurray.net

How Did Early Man Tell Time?

Like today’s most primitive communities and survivalists, both living without the technology that ticked off hours and minutes, earliest man had no concept of quantifiable time. He didn’t need it when the most important metric was how much daylight remained to finish hunting and gathering and find a safe place to sleep. He told tribe members when he would return–or they
should–well, I’ll tell you how that happened later in this article. When the sun slept, our primeval ancestors slept, leaving whatever chores remained for the next day and the sun’s return.

In Natural Selection, that usually sufficed, but if a character needed more than that, say to indicate more definitively when s/he would return:

– s/he could point to a place in the sky along the sun’s forward path, the inference being when sun reached that position, s/he would be back.
– s/he could place a finger–or a hand–overhead, next to the sun, inferring that when the sun moved the width of a finger or a hand, s/he would return.
– at night, the Moon’s progression across the night sky could be used to indicate how long before the sun reappeared.

For longer periods of time, beyond a stretch of daylight, early man used the Moon’s face. It changed nightly and with regularity. The disappearance and reappearance of the Moon, the size of the orb, made it a reliable marker of how long something took or the period before something happened, like herds returning or hunters arriving from a long trip.

How long is a hand or finger? So how much time is inferred by a finger or a hand placed next to the sun? A finger is roughly
fifteen minutes and four fingers—a hand—an hour. Test it yourself. Place a finger next to the sun. The sun will take approximately fifteen minutes to reach the far side of your finger. If there is one hand between the sun and the earth, it means there is one hour until the sun sinks below the horizon. 

Early man knew that the sun moved at the same speed across the sky which meant a hand or both hands always meant the passage of the same amount of time. What he didn’t know was why. Here’s the reasoning he wouldn’t learn for thousands of years, but will be clear to you:
Take your height, for early man about 5 feet.
Multiply it by 1.5 = 7.5
Find the square root = 2.7
That means 2.7 miles to the horizon, or about two hours of walking on their bandy legs.

Do you have any tips for telling time without a watch or phone?

What readers are saying about Natural Selection

“In the third book of the series, Lucy is again beset with challenges.
Besides Lucy struggling to keep her tribe safe, and free the tribe members that were stolen by an enemy tribe—plenty to grab and hold a reader’s attention—there were substories hurtling through the book with characters I grew to care about. A Canis tracking another Canis to be her mate. A Homotherium kit looking for a pack. And Lucy’s former pack members that have been enslaved and are looking for a way to survive and escape their bonds.

Once again, Ms. Murray has woven prehistory into a lovely, understandable story. One of her signature themes is the blending of different cultures into one tribe. Proving that in spite of our differences we can get along.
On a personal note, I loved that Boah said goodbye. (You’ll know what I’m referring to when you read it.) And last but not least my favorite quote: “If Night Sun knew, it wasn’t telling.”

NATURAL SELECTION is a must-read for all Murray fans, of which I am one, prehistory buffs AND for folks that just like a well-told tale.” Sandra Cox

“The final book of the Dawn of Humanity series ends on a positive note though I suspect that Lucy’s story of survival in the prehistoric world will continue to be riddled with danger and challenges. As the title suggests, not all the branches of primitive mankind will survive and those who do will depend on their ability to develop new skills and think strategically.

The plot is straightforward with two main threads. The first is Lucy and her group’s continuing search for a sustainable home base. The second is their plan to rescue past members of her tribe from Man-who-preys before they become so weak from hunger that they’re killed. Lucy is the main character, but not the only point of view, and other characters are frequently brought to the forefront. These include her two-legged group members as well as those with four.

Murray’s research continues to add depth and realism to the read, and I found it as fascinating as I did in the first book. Our ancestors had it tough, and their lives were intricately entwined with the world around them. I appreciated that Murray didn’t spare our modern sensibilities. Grooming bugs from each other’s skin, eating rotten meat, and “fear poop” aren’t very glamorous, but they added to the authenticity of the story. Her word choices—to describe the harsh environment, its rhythms and wild creatures, and the nature and skill of each member of her diverse group—bring life on Earth 1.8 million years ago into vivid relief.

For readers who enjoy a meticulously researched primitive world and the remarkable challenges faced by our evolutionary ancestors, I highly recommend this series. It’s fascinating.”
D.W. Peach

106 Responses to "Natural Selection, Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series by Jacqui Murray"

Fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

Thank you for visiting, Christa!

These books are fascinating!!

Very interesting information about time, Jacqui. Congratulations on your book. Thank you, Darlene for hosting Jacqui today.

It is intriguing, about telling time. A lot of primitive tribes (I use that denotatively) don’t need a specific hour-minute designation. How much daylight remains is fine!

I think that would serve most.

Thanks, John. I found the information about telling time very interesting.

Thank you so much for hosting me, Darlene! This will be a wonderful Tuesdayd!

I am happy to be part of your book launch. The information about telling time is extremely interesting.

I’ve never about how or whether primitive man told time, just that their days and nights would have been lived according to the sun, not an artificial measure. I’m wondering how researchers have been able to ascertain how primitive man told time.

Thanks, Liz. I don’t believe time would have been important to prehistoric man.

You’re welcome, Darlene.

You’re spot on about what’s important to them. I got some insights from Margaret Mead’s time with primitive tribes as well as earlier adventurers. They didn’t need to point to the 3 on a clock, just where the sun would be at a certain future time. That’s pretty effective!

Ah, OK, Margaret Mead’s research! She must have been able to extrapolate from the indiginous peoples she studied?

Another super interesting post from Jacqui. I will have to give her theory a try with the fingers and the sun to tell how many minutes. 🙂 Thank you, Darlene, for hosting!

Thanks, Jan. Let us know how your experiment worked.

You’ll be thrilled. Whenever I talk about this, there’s always a few people nodding along–of course that’s how you do it!

That’s so interesting about time, Jacqui, even though the math eludes me. Lol. And I’m so glad you enjoyed my review and shared it here at Darlene’s. Yay. Another great stop on your fabulous tour!

Thanks, Diana. It was such a great review, I just had to include it.

It still makes me smile!

The math also eluded our ancestors! I ran into an Amazon rainforest tribe–the Piraha–who to this day have no words for numbers. Amazing, innit?

Wow. That is amazing, Jacqui, and fascinating. The older I get, them more I realize I don’t know, and the more fascinating the world becomes.

Fascinating post about time, Jacqui. I learned something new!

Don’t you just love learning something new! Thanks for commenting.

Doesn’t that make your day–learning something new that makes so much sense? Thanks, Debra!

That there is a compelling review, dear.

Thank you. Jacqui is a superb writer.

Yes, she evidently is. Much obliged.

Kudos and thanks to Diana! And to Darlene for sharing this. Diana really got the story.

Thanks for hosting Jacqui today, Darlene. Wishing her all the best! I wonder if early man struggled with feeling as though they never had enough time.

I’m sure that never entered their mind. Thanks, Jill.

That’s a good question and one I never address in the books. I’ll have to think about that!

I’m fascinated by all this information Jacqui shares from her research, and even more fascinated by the way she weaves it all into her exciting stories.

I agree with you. She certainly knows her genre well and her readership!

She sure does. 🙂

It amazes me, too, when I come across it during research. I love having a platform where I can share it.

I’m pleased you can share it too. Makes it easier for me to find out. 🙂

I learnt something new! The finger or hand method of telling time is new to me. Fascinating post, Jacqui. Wishing you every success with your latest book. Darlene, thanks for sharing. Hugs 💕🙂

Thanks, Harmony. I love learning new thngs too.

As I try to minimize my life, ridding myself of unnecessary or redundant tech is a high priority (I’m one of those that worry about an electro-magnetic pulse). Glad you liked it!

I read Jacqui’s first two books in this series and can’t wait to read the third. Her books are not to be missed. Thanks for writing this wonderful review.

Jacqui puts so much time and effort into these books and it shows.

You are right, they are very well researched.

Thanks so much! Best read with a delicious ‘savory muffin’!

So interesting about telling time without a timepiece. I am aware of the sun’s position, and the animals wake up at the same time every day, so that tells me what time it is in the morning, but that’s the extent of my no-timepiece time telling! I’m looking forward to reading Natural Selection!

When you own a dog, you don’t need a clock! I stopped wearing a watch when I retired. Time is not quite as important anymore.

I’ve been researching that for my next iteration of man–Anatomically Modern Humans and Neanderthals. Both of these folks were pretty darn smart so I’m going to have to up my game!

Thank you for helping to showcase this outstanding work from Jacqui Murray!

Thanks, GP. It’s my pleasure.

Thank you, GP! I bet a lot of soldiers used this method of telling how much daylight remained in the fight!

The old ways still work, that’s why I love history.

I’m always so fascinated by what I learn from you, Jacqui! It’s wonderful to see you here. 🙂

Thanks for the comment and for visiting my blog.

This is pretty cool, innit? And the usefulness of this time keeping method last hundreds of thousands of years.

HI Darlene, this is an interesting post. I learned a few new things about telling the time without a watch. Jacqui is having a great tour.

She certainly is. All the posts are filled with interesting information.

I didn’t figure out as many great ideas for telling time at night. Stars are a lot more complicated!

Telling time this way seems to be a lot less stressful than how we deal with it nowadays. I like how you’ve worked their time-telling method into the novels. This is another of the many concepts that make this trilogy so wonderful to read. Always some new way of dealing with life’s challenges for the reader to contemplate. Great job on these books Jacqui. I’ve really enjoyed them all. Thanks for hosting, Darlene.

I’m happy to host Jacqui as her books are amazing. Glad you like them too.

They didn’t need time-by-minutes back then. It was enough to figure out how much time before daylight ended. I think the ability to make our own ‘sun’ did away with that concept!

Oh yeah. I hadn’t thought about that. I was thinking more about appointments to keep (something they didn’t have to worry about as precisely as we sometimes do).

Great post about how they told time, Jacqui. Nice to have a formula to confirm what our ancestors knew 🙂 A great ending to a wonderful series. Thanks for hosting, Darlene.

Thanks, Denise. Happy to host Jacqui.

Lots of animals had a sense of time, which they even now call instinct. Our ancestors had that, but also the ability to evaluate and make their own decisions. Interesting stuff.

What awesome information! I’d comment more, but I need to go out and time the sun and my finger.

Hands on a clock…it all makes sense now.

Thanks, Elizabeth. I hope your experiment worked.

How’d it go? I bet it was great!

One of the most stimulating parts of studying early man is learning how they figured out a way to function. Using nature as a vehicle to tell time seems obvious, but at the time, it was pretty cutting-edge.

It was, wasn’t it! I really don’t think the passage of time was that important though.

That is so true! We are so attuned to sundials and watches, it’s hard to imagine other ways.

Hi, Jacqui and Darlene – This is fascinating information about time. Not having a specific hour-minute designation would have made good sense for prehistoric man. Come to think of it, I kinda live my retirement life that way! 😀

I was thinking the same thing. I was a slave to time for so many years, I am so much more relaxed about it now that I’m retired.

It’s nice not to stress about being somewhere in five minutes. I like that.

I never really thought about how they could tell time, so this is fascinating. Your research must have been so educational Jacqui. Congrats on the new release!

Until man arrived at a time when seconds and minutes mattered (like the Industrial Revolution), specific time wasn’t that big a deal. This method worked fine. That has all changed, hasn’t it!

It is fascinating. Jacqui always does a great job of incorporating her research into the story.

This is an interesting piece about primitive man telling time. I find that I can intuit the time when I wake up at night, even though it is still pitch black. I wonder if everyone has the sense. I’ve never asked. Pat Spencer, author of Story of a Stolen Girl

Thanks so much for visiting my blog, Pat. Time is an interesting concept. I usually know what time it is even without a watch or clock (or phone) I usually know how much time has passed but my hubby doesn’t. I don’t rely on that though to catch a bus or a plane for instance!

I wish I could do that, or the Jack Reacher thing, where he always knows within a minute what time it is.

I’m not within a minute–usually about 30 minutes.

I’m going to give this a try! The only way I know to tell time outdoors is by the intensity of the sun. Generally, light mellows around four p.m.- at least in the northern hemisphere.

Let us know how it works, Jacquie!! The sun is a fairly good indicator of time.

It works every time. The Sun travels at a predictable even rate, measurable by your fingers. It’s pretty amazing.

This is very interesting I have learnt a lot about time today and am going to put it into practice…early man was quite intelligent to start with nothing and figure it out as they went and then along came us who had most things at our fingertips and know far less about the wonders of nature…this a very interesting tour I have learnt so much 🙂 x

Early humans were very smart and managed to figure things out, but as we’ve evolved we have become more dependent on technology. Jacqui is a font of prehistoric knowledge.

They had to work with what they had–when plants bloomed, herds migrated, that sort. For them, this was easy!

Exactly Jacqui when most of us don’t now it is very noticeable here when you go to the remote villages I have learnt much from living here people are far more resourceful 🙂 x

And it feels good to be resourceful and careful.

She most certainly is , Darlene 🙂 x

Hi Darlene – the sun and night (moon) must have been about the only certainties in the life of early man – Lucy and her tribe … always happening … I guess too they’d have known that the days shortened and got cooler, while lengthening and getting warmer/hotter … tough of course not understanding why – they just needed to survive. It’s been so interesting being on this journey with Jacqui – amazing series … cheers Hilary

Thanks, Hilary. Jacqui certainly has taken us on an incredible journey with her books.

When you don’t need minute-by-minute evaluation of time, the Sun and stars can tell you most of what you need. Even when to meet someone (when the sun is ‘there’ in the sky) or how long before you return (two fingers next to the sun)–most ancient tribes needed little else. It’s fascinating.

Super coverage. And thanks for sharing interesting tidbits from the book.

Some very interesting bits of information for sure. Thanks for commenting.

It’s this type of detail that causes me to loose hours every day in blissful research! Thanks for visiting, Ankur.

Fantastic post! Love the blend of informative and entertaining. ❤

That’s what got me started on this series, Jaya–blending how we survived with an way of telling the story that would engage readers. I’m glad it works for you!

The best reading is when you learn something while being entertained.

So lovely to see Jacqui here, Darlene – what an awesome series

It is, isn’t it? It has turned many readers into fans of prehistoric fiction!

I enjoy reading the extra details Jacqui puts into her books. It makes her series unique and compelling to read.

This is so true. No wonder people who don’t normally like prehistoric fiction, love these books.

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