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I'm interested in finding out whose fingerprint is on the cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. Could it belong to Mr Harari, or his father (whom the book was dedicated to), or Suzanne Dean (the cover designer), or someone else? I've tried looking through the book and Google but have had no luck so far.

Cover is all text except for one grey inky fingerprint at centre

It looks as if the same fingerprint is on the back twice but I can't know for sure.

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  • 2
    I have no idea, but also I'm curious as to why you would want to know?
    – Spagirl
    Jul 5, 2019 at 9:36
  • 1
    @spagirl mainly just pure curiosity - there likely isn't a story behind it, it's probably just stock art, but it would be cool trivia to know Jul 8, 2019 at 4:18

1 Answer 1

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After clarification, Harari's team confirmed that the fingerprint on that cover is just a stock photo and contains to particular significance.

שלום,
לשאלתך - צדקת, טביעת האצבע היא רנדומלית, ללא משמעות. רק סימלי.

Hello,
To your question - you're right, the fingerprint is a random one, without any particular significance. It's symbolic.

In the conversation quoted below, they apparently thought I was asking about a different cover. I'm still not entirely sure what cover, but it's not the one mentioned in the original post.


I reached out via Harari's website to ask about it, in Hebrew:

שלום רב,
רציתי לשואל של מי הטביעת אצבע שמופיה כחלק מהכריכה של הספר "Sapiens".
זה שלך, האבא שלך, סתם תמונה סתוק, משהו אחר?
אשמח לקבל תשובה,
[שם]

Hello,
I wanted to ask whose fingerprint is shown as part of the cover of "Sapiens".
Is it yours, your father's, just a stock photo, something else?
I'd be grateful for an answer,
[name]

His team reached out back to me within a few hours with a response:

[שם] שלום,
טביעת היד היא של כף יד אדם מלפני כ- 30 אלף שנה שנמצאה במערה בשם שובה.
טביעת הרגל היא של האסטרונאוט הראשון שדרך על אדמת הירח, 1969.
בברכת שנה טובה,
פנינה

Hello [name],
The handprint is the palm print of a human from about 30 thousand years ago that was found in a cave named Chauvet.
The footprint is of the first astronaut to step on the moon, 1969.
Happy New Year,
Pnina

(Both emails were written in Hebrew; I translated them for this answer.)

I don't possess a copy of the book to check - it looks more like a fingerprint than a palm print from the image you provided, and I was unable to find a version with a footprint - but that's what the office of Yuval Noah Harari says about the fingerprint.

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  • I think they have the wrong cover. I bet they're referring to this cover.
    – cmw
    Sep 25, 2022 at 13:37
  • I've sent them a follow-up note, we'll see what they say.
    – Mithical
    Sep 25, 2022 at 13:41
  • Did you attach an image to your initial email?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 25, 2022 at 14:17
  • @Randal'Thor - I did not; the image included in the post here was the only cover I saw on their website (aside from the graphic novel version), so I assumed we'd be on the same page.
    – Mithical
    Sep 25, 2022 at 14:19
  • Does that random fingertip belong to a real person or it's a made-up one? If that belongs to a real person did the author get the consent to use the fingertip? Jul 19, 2023 at 2:03

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