The Human Odyssey: Four Million Years of Human Evolution

Overview

This newly updated text chronicles a history of human evolution starting three and a half million years ago, when two upright figures walked together across the Laetoli desert in Tanzania, and their footsteps were captured forever in volcanic ash. Were these remarkable footprints made by one of our earliest ancestors, and what can they tell us about the human evolutionary journey?

This is just one of many puzzles of the compelling story of human evolution explored in this ...

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Overview

This newly updated text chronicles a history of human evolution starting three and a half million years ago, when two upright figures walked together across the Laetoli desert in Tanzania, and their footsteps were captured forever in volcanic ash. Were these remarkable footprints made by one of our earliest ancestors, and what can they tell us about the human evolutionary journey?

This is just one of many puzzles of the compelling story of human evolution explored in this volume. Based on the new Hall of Human Biology and Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History, the most extensive exhibition of the subject ever designed, The Human Odyssey examines how both significant fossil finds and startling new theories have been used by scientists to trace the path of human evolution.

Here are the stories behind such famous fossil discoveries as Gigantopithecus, the "Black Skull," "Java Man," and "Lucy," and the surprising clues they reveal about the date and place of human origins. Here too are the bold theories and controversies that have influenced the field of evolution, from the idea of natural selection put forth by Charles Darwin to the new role that DNA analysis plays in fossil research.

Illustrated throughout with more than a hundred photographs, drawings, maps, and stunning artistic re-creations of early humans and their environment, The Human Odyssey is virtually a portable museum devoted to this fascinating subject. Drawing from the latest research in both the laboratory and the field, it clearly illuminates some of the most provocative questions scientists have ever asked: Where did we come from, and how did we become what we are today?

A virtual portable museum on the subject of human evolution--based on the fascinating displays featured in the new Hall of Human Biology and Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Maps, charts, timelines, sidebars. Over 125 illustrations, 55 in full color.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Intended as a companion volume to the newly opened Hall of Human Biology and Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History, this book stands well alone. Opening chapters survey life's diversity, highlight human biological systems, and define the place of humankind within the animal kingdom. Upon this foundation, Tattersall--a noted anthropologist and a curator at the museum--interweaves information on fossil finds, artifacts, climate, geology, biology, and sociology to create a vivid depiction of the evolution of primates into Homo sapiens . Current mainstream opinions, alternate views, and earlier theories are explained in a well-balanced fashion. The addition of top-quality photos, maps, charts, and artist's reconstructions makes for an inviting package accessible to both young adult and lay readers. The result is similar in scope and quality to Roger Lewin's In the Age of Mankind: A Smithsonian Book of Human Evolution ( LJ 12/88). Highly recommended for general collections.-- Frank Reiser, Nassau Community Coll., Garden City, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780595186983
  • Publisher: AuthorHouse
  • Publication date: 8/28/2001
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,029,058
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
In The Beginning 1
Humans Are Vertebrates 15
Humans Are Mammals 33
Primate Evolution 43
Human Evolution 63
The Earliest Human Relatives 73
The Mystery of Olduvai Gorge: "Handy Man" 95
The Great Leap Forward 101
Toward Modern Humans 113
The Neanderthals 123
The Origin of Modern Humans 133
The Human Spirit 153
Glossary 173
For Further Reading 185
Index 187
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