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Dragon Bone Hill: An Ice-Age Saga of Homo Erectus
     

Dragon Bone Hill: An Ice-Age Saga of Homo Erectus

by Noel T. Boaz, Russell L. Ciochon
 

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ISBN-10: 0195152913

ISBN-13: 9780195152913

Pub. Date: 02/16/2004

Publisher: Oxford University Press

"Peking Man," a cave man once thought a great hunter who had first tamed fire, actually was a composite of the gnawed remains of some fifty women, children, and men unfortunate enough to have been the prey of the giant cave hyena. Researching the famous fossil site of Dragon Bone Hill in China, scientists Noel T. Boaz and Russell L. Ciochon retell the

Overview

"Peking Man," a cave man once thought a great hunter who had first tamed fire, actually was a composite of the gnawed remains of some fifty women, children, and men unfortunate enough to have been the prey of the giant cave hyena. Researching the famous fossil site of Dragon Bone Hill in China, scientists Noel T. Boaz and Russell L. Ciochon retell the story of the cave's unique species of early human, Homo erectus.
Boaz and Ciochon take readers on a gripping scientific odyssey. New evidence shows that Homo erectus was an opportunist who rode a tide of environmental change out Africa and into Eurasia, puddle-jumping from one gene pool to the next. Armed with a shaky hold on fire and some sharp rocks, Homo erectus incredibly survived for over 1.5 million years, much longer than our own species Homo sapiens has been on Earth. Tell-tale marks on fossil bones show that the lives of these early humans were brutal, ruled by hunger and who could strike the hardest blow, yet there are fleeting glimpses of human compassion as well. The small brain of Homo erectus and its strangely unchanging culture indicate that the species could not talk. Part of that primitive culture included ritualized aggression, to which the extremely thick skulls of Homo erectus bear mute witness.
Both a vivid recreation of the unimagined way of life of a prehistoric species, so similar yet so unlike us, and a fascinating exposition of how modern multidisciplinary research can test hypotheses in human evolution, Dragon Bone Hill is science writing at its best.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195152913
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
02/16/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
1,011,886
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Prefaceix
List of Illustrationsxiii
Chapter 1The Bones of Dragon Hill1
Chapter 2The Dragon Reclaims Its Own33
Chapter 3Giants and Genes: Changing Views of Peking Man's Evolutionary Significance55
Chapter 4The Third Function: A Hypothesis on the Mysterious Skull of Peking Man74
Chapter 5The Adaptive Behavior of the Not-Quite-Human90
Chapter 6The Times and Climes of Homo erectus108
Chapter 7The Nature of Humanness at Longgushan: Brain, Language, Fire, and Cannibalism124
Chapter 8Alpha and Omega: Resolving the Ultimate Questions of the Beginnings and Endings of Homo erectus, the Species142
Chapter 9Testing the New Hypotheses161
Notes181
Bibliography197
Credits for Illustrations217
Index221

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