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Seven Skeletons

Author: Lydia Pyne
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698409426
Size: 29.56 MB
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An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas—ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today. Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil—from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall “hobbit” from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba, and Lucy—each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized. With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination. From the Hardcover edition.

Paleoclimate And Evolution With Emphasis On Human Origins

Author: Elisabeth S. Vrba
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300063482
Size: 60.27 MB
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This book focuses on how climatic change during the last fifteen million years - especially the last three million - has affected human evolution and other evolutionary events. Leading evolutionists and physical geologists from all over the worldauthorities on such subjects as paleoceanography, palynology, mammalian paleontology, and paleoanthropology - address the relationship between climatic and biotic evolution, presenting and integrating the most up-to-date research in their fields. Among the subjects discussed are: global and regional climatic changes; tectonism and its effects on climate; the evolution of biomes and mammals; the ways climate might have influenced the origins of hominid species; and the evolution of hominid morphologies and behaviors. The book draws on the comparatively rich data base of the Late Neogene and includes many new data sets and hypotheses on paleoclimatic changes and on floral and mammalian evolution.

The Strange Case Of The Rickety Cossack

Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466879432
Size: 38.65 MB
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In his new book The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, human paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall argues that a long tradition of "human exceptionalism" in paleoanthropology has distorted the picture of human evolution. Drawing partly on his own career—from young scientist in awe of his elders to crotchety elder statesman—Tattersall offers an idiosyncratic look at the competitive world of paleoanthropology, beginning with Charles Darwin 150 years ago, and continuing through the Leakey dynasty in Africa, and concluding with the latest astonishing findings in the Caucasus. The book's title refers to the 1856 discovery of a clearly very old skull cap in Germany's Neander Valley. The possessor had a brain as large as a modern human, but a heavy low braincase with a prominent brow ridge. Scientists tried hard to explain away the inconvenient possibility that this was not actually our direct relative. One extreme interpretation suggested that the preserved leg bones were curved by both rickets, and by a life on horseback. The pain of the unfortunate individual's affliction had caused him to chronically furrow his brow in agony, leading to the excessive development of bone above the eye sockets. The subsequent history of human evolutionary studies is full of similarly fanciful interpretations. With tact and humor, Tattersall concludes that we are not the perfected products of natural processes, but instead the result of substantial doses of random happenstance.

The Nariokotome Homo Erectus Skeleton

Author: Alan Walker
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674600751
Size: 48.57 MB
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On the slopes of the Nariokotome sand river in Kenya, sifting through sediments more than a million years old, Kamoya Kimeu uncovered a small piece of a skull. Piece followed piece--facial bones, teeth, vertebrae--and little by little paleontologists put together the most complete early hominid ever discovered, a Homo erectus skeleton christened the Nariokotome boy. This phenomenal find, a milestone in the history of paleoanthropology, is fully documented in this remarkable book. Beautifully illustrated and richly descriptive, The Nariokotome Homo Erectus Skeleton takes us into the field and the laboratory, and into the far reaches of prehistory, to show us what the fossilized remains of a young boy can tell us about our beginnings.

Adventures In The Bone Trade

Author: Jon Kalb
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 0387216189
Size: 76.85 MB
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As co-founder of the expedition that discovered Lucy, and leader of most of the first site-surveys in the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, Jon Kalb has years of experience with the region, its politics, and the scientists involved in the excavations. A participant himself in the "bone wars" that accompanied these discoveries, Kalb recounts the cutthroat competition and back stabbing that were often part of the media-highlighted race to find the oldest hominid fossil. He weaves this story in the rich fabric of Ethiopian society and politics, the plight of the regions peoples, and the international maneuverings for control of the fossil finds.

The Last Lost World

Author: Lydia V. Pyne
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0143123424
Size: 35.85 MB
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An illuminating investigation into the Pleistocene era's dual character as a geologic time and a cultural idea explains the global changes that created our world while describing how ideas about the Pleistocene have shaped intellectual culture, science and modern origins beliefs. 20,000 first printing.

Bones Stones And Molecules

Author: David W. Cameron
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0121569330
Size: 70.59 MB
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Bones, Stones and Molecules provides some of the best evidence for resolving the debate between the two hypotheses of human origins. The debate between the 'Out of Africa' model and the 'Multiregional' hypothesis is examined through the functional and developmental processes associated with the evolution of the human skull and face and focuses on the significance of the Australian record. The book analyzes important new discoveries that have occurred recently and examines evidence that is not available elsewhere. Cameron and Groves argue that the existing evidence supports a recent origin for modern humans from Africa. They also specifically relate these two theories to interpretations of the origins of the first Australians. The book provides an up-to-date interpretation of the fossil, archaeological and the molecular evidence, specifically as it relates to Asia, and Australia in particular. * Readily accessible to the layperson and professional * Provides concise coverage of current scientific evidence * Presents a robust computer-generated model of human speciation over the last 7 million years * Well illustrated with figures and photographs of important fossil specimens * Presents a synthesis of great ape and human evolution

Evolution S Bite

Author: Peter S. Ungar
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400884756
Size: 67.25 MB
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What teeth can teach us about the evolution of the human species Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite, noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth—their shape, chemistry, and wear—reveal how we came to be. Ungar describes how a tooth's "foodprints"—distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear—provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors, what Ungar calls the biospheric buffet. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence—and the scars on our teeth—Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans. Traveling the four corners of the globe and combining scientific breakthroughs with vivid narrative, Evolution's Bite presents a unique dental perspective on our astonishing human development.

The Fossil Chronicles

Author: Dean Falk
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520274466
Size: 47.85 MB
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"With wit and authority, Falk tells the parallel stories of two fossil discoveries that surprised the world, revealing the larger significance of these finds. Her lively recounting combines new historical research with her first-hand involvement in controversial interpretations."—Pat Shipman, author of The Animal Connection and The Man Who Found the Missing Link “An absorbing and engagingly personal account, by a leading participant, of two of the major “brain wars” that have raged along the path to our current understanding of human evolution.”--Ian Tattersall, author of The Fossil Trail and Human Origins “In The Fossil Chronicles, Falk engages us with a ‘tale of two brains’. While navigating the surfaces of these ancient brains, she reveals the convolutions of scientific controversies and how personalities and paleopolitics shape the ways we think about human evolution.”—Nina G. Jablonski, author of Skin: A Natural History

Bones Of Contention

Author: Roger Lewin
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226476513
Size: 52.35 MB
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Explores the nature of the debate over the findings of paleoanthropologists, looking at how the biases and preconceptions of scientists in the field shape their work, and telling the stories of some of the world's major fossil finds.