In 1963, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published the first volume of its long-awaited cultural and scientific history of mankind. First announced in 1948, the History of Mankind was envisioned as a comprehensive, universal human history, from the evolution of Homo sapiens to the middle of the twentieth century. This article uses editorial conflicts over the site of the cradle of the human species to explore the position of scientific knowledge in world history writing and to examine tensions between different national traditions of expertise at a moment of political and scientific transition.