The Evolution Book to Read - and Really Enjoy!

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The Evolution Book to Read - and Really Enjoy!

Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:56 pm

This is from the Scientific American Book Club site where I ordered the book last month. It's outstanding.


By Chris Stringer and Peter Andrews

Member's Price: $29.99

Publisher's Price: $39.95
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Book Hardcover
240 pages
Item Number: 952476

Publisher: Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Publication Date: June, 2005


Human domination of the Earth is now so complete that it's easy to forget how recently our role in the history of the planet began: the earliest apes evolved around 20 million years ago, yet modern Homo sapiens has existed for a mere 150,000 years. In the intervening period, many species of early ape and human have lived and died out, leaving behind fossilized remains. Chris Stringer and Peter Andrews describe the detailed picture in The Complete World of Human Evolution.

Stringer and Andrews divide the book into three sections. The first, “In Search of Our Ancestors,” examines the contexts in which fossilized remains have been found and the techniques used to study them. We know, for example, that humans originated in Africa, because the first two to three million years of fossil humans are entirely restricted to that continent. In-depth profiles of six fossil sites, from Kenya's Rusinga Island to Gibraltar, show paleoanthropologists in action.

The book's second section, “The Fossil Evidence,” traces in detail the evolution of apes and humans, from Proconsul to the australopithicenes, and Homo erectus to the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. The authors appraise the latest fossil finds at major new sites such as Dmanisi in Georgia and Gran Dolina in Spain, and evaluate new advances in genetic studies, including the extraction of DNA from extinct human species. For example, we examine the fossil ape Ankarapithecus metai, recovered in Turkey in 1996, which shares characteristics with both the orangutan and another species, Sivapithecus.

“Interpreting the Evidence” reconstructs and explains the evolution of human behavior, describing the development of tool use, the flourishing of the earliest artists, and the spread of modern humans to all corners of the world. This section details the puzzles that remain, such as why our ancestors first walked on two legs, and how Homo sapiens replaced other human species such as Neanderthals.

Complete with hundreds of photographs, diagrams, and specially commissioned reconstruction drawings, The Complete World of Human Evolution succeeds in showing us how we got where we are—and what came before.

Level: All readers
432 illustrations, 180 in color
Published by Thames & Hudson in 2005
240 pages

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein


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