Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species

Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species


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“Deftly weaving together science and personal observation, Lee proves an engaging, authoritative guide… of the human condition.” —Kate Wong, editor at Scientific American

What can fossilized teeth tell us about our ancient ancestors’ life expectancy? Did farming play a problematic role in the history of human evolution? And what do we have in common with Neanderthals? In this captivating bestseller, Close Encounters with Humankind, paleoanthropologist Sang-Hee Lee explores our greatest evolutionary questions from new and unexpected angles. Through a series of entertaining, bite-sized chapters that combine anthropological insight with cutting-edge science, we gain fresh perspectives into our first hominin ancestors and ways to challenge perceptions about the traditional progression of evolution. With Lee as our guide, we discover that we indeed have always been a species of continuous change.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393356762
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/19/2019
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 865,237
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Sang-Hee Lee is a professor of anthropology and associate dean of the college of humanities, arts, and social sciences at UC Riverside, and lives in Riverside, California. She earned her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Let's Take a Journey Together 9

1 Are We Cannibals? 19

2 The Birth of Fatherhood 33

3 Who Were the First Hominin Ancestors? 47

4 Big-Brained Babies Give Moms Big Grief 59

5 Meat Lovers R Us 67

6 Got Milk? 77

7 A Gene for Snow White 85

8 Granny Is an Artist 93

9 Did Farming Bring Prosperity? 105

10 Peking Man and the Yakuza 113

11 Asia Challenges Africa's Stronghold on the Birthplace of Humanity 121

12 Cooperation Connects You and Me 131

13 King Kong 141

14 Breaking Back 151

15 In Search of the Most Humanlike Face 161

16 Our Changing Brains 169

17 You Are a Neanderthal! 179

18 The Molecular Clock Does Not Keep Time 189

19 Denisovans: The Asian Neanderthals? 199

20 Hobbits 207

21 Seven Billion Humans, One Single Race? 217

22 Are Humans Still Evolving? 227

Epilogue 1 Precious Humanity 235

Epilogue 2 An Invitation to an Unfamiliar World of Paleoanthropology 241

Appendix 1 Common Questions and Answers about Evolution 247

Appendix 2 Overview of Hominin Evolution 255

Further Reading 265

Index 287

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