Missing Links: In Search of Human Origins [NOOK Book]

Overview

This is the story of the search for human origins - from the Middle Ages, when questions of the earth's antiquity first began to arise, through to the latest genetic discoveries that show the interrelatedness of all living creatures.

Central to the story is the part played by fossils - first, in establishing the age of the Earth; then, following Darwin, in the pursuit of ...
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Missing Links: In Search of Human Origins

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Overview

This is the story of the search for human origins - from the Middle Ages, when questions of the earth's antiquity first began to arise, through to the latest genetic discoveries that show the interrelatedness of all living creatures.

Central to the story is the part played by fossils - first, in establishing the age of the Earth; then, following Darwin, in the pursuit of possible 'Missing Links' that would establish whether or not humans and chimpanzees share a common ancestor.

John Reader's passion for this quest - palaeoanthropology - began in the 1960s when he reported for Life Magazine on Richard Leakey's first fossil-hunting expedition to the badlands of East Turkana, in Kenya. Drawing on both historic and recent research, he tells the fascinating story of the science as it has developed from the activities of a few dedicated individuals, into the rigorous multidisciplinary work of today.

His arresting photographs give a unique insight into the fossils, the discoverers, and the settings. His vivid narrative reveals both the context in which our ancestors evolved, and also the realities confronting the modern scientist. The story he tells is peopled by eccentrics and enthusiasts, and punctuated by controversy and even fraud. It is a celebration of discoveries - Neanderthal Man in the 1850s, Java Man (1891), Australopithecus (1925), Peking Man (1926), Homo habilis (1964), Lucy
(1978), Floresiensis (2004), and Ardipithecus (2009). It is a story of fragmentary shards of evidence, and the competing interpretations built upon them. And it is a tale of scientific breakthroughs - dating technology, genetics, and molecular biology - that have enabled us to set the fossil evidence in
the context of human evolution.

John Reader's first book on this subject (Missing Links: The Hunt for Earliest Man, 1981) was described in Nature as 'the best popular account of palaeoanthropology I have ever read'. His new book covers the thirty years of discovery that have followed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780191619861
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 10/27/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 873,733
  • File size: 20 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

John Reader is a writer and photographer with more than fifty years of professional experience. He is the author of numerous books, including The Untold History of the Potato, Africa (the PBS companion volume), Pyramids of Life (with Harvey Croze), and Rise of Life.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements Foreword, Professor Andrew Hill (Yale)
List of Illustrations
1. Time and Place
2. The Meaning of Fossils
3. Nothing So Rare
4. Neanderthal Man (1857)
5. Neanderthals and Modern Humans
6. Java Man (1891)
7. Piltdown Man (1912)
8. Australopithecus Africanus (1925)
9. Peking Man (1926)
10. Australopithecus substantiated (1936)
11. Zinjanthropus boisei (1959)
12. Tools
13. Homo habilis (1964)
14. 1470 (1972) and Oldest Man
15. Australopithecus afarensis (1978)
16. Footprints
17. Ardipithecus ramidus 1994/2009
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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