The Human Story: Our Evolution From Prehistoric Ancestors to Today

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Meet our ancestors. Not our personal, individual ancestors; not the great-grandparents whose portraits we have hanging in our houses. These ancestors are much older than those -- millions of years older. They didn't leave pictures behind, or letters, or even tombstones. We know about them from their bones and from their tools. Join National Geographic paleobiology specialist Christoper Sloan on a scientific trek through human prehistory. Meet the first of our primate ancestors to stand upright, freeing their ...
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Overview

Meet our ancestors. Not our personal, individual ancestors; not the great-grandparents whose portraits we have hanging in our houses. These ancestors are much older than those -- millions of years older. They didn't leave pictures behind, or letters, or even tombstones. We know about them from their bones and from their tools. Join National Geographic paleobiology specialist Christoper Sloan on a scientific trek through human prehistory. Meet the first of our primate ancestors to stand upright, freeing their hands to carry their big-brained, helpless babies. Follow the many species of pre-humans as they developed complex tool-making styles and expanded their range around the world and into many different environments. See how Neandertals may be only distantly related to us, but still made art and buried their dead with care. And watch as our species -- Homo sapiens -- emerged and was left as the only human species, ready to develop the patterns of civilization that define modern humans. Carefully researched, up-to-date, reviewed by a panel of noted paleoanthropologists, and illustrated with striking artwork and photography, The Human Story is the definitive resource for young people exploring our species' distant past.

Explores the origins of humans, including how such developments as Linnaeus' classification system and recent understanding of the human genome have improved scientists' comprehension of evolution.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Explore the story of human evolution from our prehistoric ancestors to modern Homo sapiens. Examine the methods scientists use to learn about the human past. Become acquainted with our next of kin—past and present. Learn how and why early hominids left Africa. Find out what happened to other species of humans and discover what changes occurred to create the one human species that remains today. Contemplate the future of a species that now has the ability and the means to manipulate its own evolution. At the end of the book, readers will find a glossary, a pronunciation guide and a bibliography. Wonderfully written and lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings (including imaginary scenes from everyday prehistoric life), this book is an excellent choice for school and classroom libraries. 2004, National Geographic Society, Ages 9 to 15.
—Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-This excellent look at human development goes beyond the basic facts to examine the methods scientists use to learn about our past, the varied theories that have arisen from their work, and the historical and modern implications of evolution. While describing characteristics of various hominids over time, Sloan includes evidence that shows how tools, fossils, artwork, and geographical location have all added to our knowledge of early humans. When two theories conflict, such as the replacement model and the multi-regional model of evolution, the author gives balanced presentations for each side and good insight into how two contrasting ideas can both generate strong support. The final chapter considers the rapid advancements made by modern humans and presents some thought-provoking questions about the possible impacts of genetic manipulation. Illustrations on every page include full-color photographs and drawings, with a good mixture of fossil samples and imagined scenes from the daily lives of our ancestors. Despite the rich illustrative material, there is, unfortunately, no chart showing hominid lineage. Several one- and two-page spreads give closer looks at such topics as tool fossils, genomes, and binomial names. They are set apart from the narrative by either black or textured backgrounds. Overall, the visual presentation is appealing, and combines with the lucid, articulate text to make this a top choice on a needed topic.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Incorporating recent discoveries that have been filling in our family tree at an unprecedented clip, Sloan, paleobiology specialist at National Geographic Magazine, retraces both human physical evolution over the past seven or so million years, and the parallel but far more recent cultural evolution that brought us from flaked stone tools to agriculture in a relative eyeblink. Supported by dazzling graphics, along with an array of spectacular illustrations that include striking full-face digital reconstructions of ancient ancestors, he carefully analyzes surviving evidence, judiciously presents current controversies, and closes with cautionary comments on our modern diets, life expectancy, and environmental changes. Equally suited to quick skimming or careful study, this systematic look at our deep past delivers compelling insights into our origins and behavior. (index, lists of books and Web sites) (Nonfiction. 10+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792263258
  • Publisher: National Geographic Society
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Product dimensions: 9.44 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword 4
Chapter 1 Of Bones and Genes 6
Chapter 2 Our Next of Kin 18
Chapter 3 Out of Africa 36
Chapter 4 Becoming Modern 50
Chapter 5 Being Human Today 68
Glossary 78
Pronunciations & Bibliography 79
Index 80
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