An award-winning Museum of Natural History curator and author of Becoming Human traces the evolution of homo sapiens to demonstrate how they prevailed among other early humans because of their unique cognitive ability, in an account that also explains how their superior mental abilities were acquired. 40,000 first printing.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2012-03-27
50,000 years ago – merely a blip in evolutionary time – our Homo sapiens ancestors were competing for existence with several other human species, just as their own precursors had been doing for millions of years. Yet something about our species separated it from the pack, and led to its survival while the rest became extinct. So just what was it that allowed Homo sapiens to become Masters of the Planet? Curator Emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, Ian Tattersall takes us deep into the fossil record to uncover what made humans so special. Surveying a vast field from initial bipedality to language and intelligence, Tattersall argues that Homo sapiens acquired a winning combination of traits that was not the result of long term evolutionary refinement. Instead it emerged quickly, shocking their world and changing it forever.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: 2013-05-28
Fifty thousand years ago—merely a blip in evolutionary time—our Homo sapiens ancestors were competing for existence with several other human species, just as their precursors had done for millions of years. Yet something about our species distinguished it from the pack, and ultimately led to its survival while the rest became extinct. Just what was it that allowed Homo sapiens to become masters of the planet? Ian Tattersall, curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, takes us deep into the fossil record to uncover what made humans so special. Surveying a vast field from initial bipedality to language and intelligence, Tattersall argues that Homo sapiens acquired a winning combination of traits that was not the result of long-term evolutionary refinement. Instead, the final result emerged quickly, shocking our world and changing it forever.
A leading researcher on human evolution proposes a new and controversial theory of how our species came to be In this groundbreaking and engaging work of science, world-renowned paleoanthropologist Chris Stringer sets out a new theory of humanity's origin, challenging both the multiregionalists (who hold that modern humans developed from ancient ancestors in different parts of the world) and his own "out of Africa" theory, which maintains that humans emerged rapidly in one small part of Africa and then spread to replace all other humans within and outside the continent. Stringer's new theory, based on archeological and genetic evidence, holds that distinct humans coexisted and competed across the African continent—exchanging genes, tools, and behavioral strategies. Stringer draws on analyses of old and new fossils from around the world, DNA studies of Neanderthals (using the full genome map) and other species, and recent archeological digs to unveil his new theory. He shows how the most sensational recent fossil findings fit with his model, and he questions previous concepts (including his own) of modernity and how it evolved. Lone Survivors will be the definitive account of who and what we were, and will change perceptions about our origins and about what it means to be human.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
Release Date: 2011-07-01
"Endlessly absorbing and informative. It would be hard to imagine a better introduction to this most important and fascinating field.”—Bill Bryson, author of A Short History of Nearly Everything Paleontology: A Brief History of Life is the fifth title published in the Templeton Science and Religion Series, in which scientists from a wide range of fields distill their experience and knowledge into brief tours of their respective specialties. In this volume, Ian Tattersall, a highly esteemed figure in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology, leads a fascinating tour of the history of life and the evolution of human beings. Starting at the very beginning, Tattersall examines patterns of change in the biosphere over time, and the correlations of biological events with physical changes in the Earth’s environment. He introduces the complex of evolutionary processes, situates human beings in the luxuriant diversity of Life (demonstrating that however remarkable we may legitimately find ourselves to be, we are the product of the same basic forces and processes that have driven the evolutionary histories of all other creatures), and he places the origin of our extraordinary spiritual sensibilities in the context of the exaptational and emergent acquisition of symbolic cognition and thought. Concise and yet comprehensive, historically penetrating and yet up-to-date, responsibly factual and yet engaging, Paleontology serves as the perfect entrée to science's greatest story.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2008-02-01
To be human is to be curious. And one of the things we are most curious about is how we came to be who we are--how we evolved over millions of years to become creatures capable of inquiring into our own evolution. In this lively and readable introduction, renowned anthropologist Ian Tattersall thoroughly examines both fossil and archaeological records to trace human evolution from the earliest beginnings of our zoological family, Hominidae, through the appearance of Homo sapiens to the Agricultural Revolution. He begins with an accessible overview of evolutionary theory and then explores the major turning points in human evolution: the emergence of the genus Homo, the advantages of bipedalism, the birth of the big brain and symbolic thinking, Paleolithic and Neolithic tool making, and finally the enormously consequential shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies 10,000 years ago. Focusing particularly on the pattern of events and innovations in human biological and cultural evolution, Tattersall offers illuminating commentary on a wide range of topics, including the earliest known artistic expressions, ancient burial rites, the beginnings of language, the likely causes of Neanderthal extinction, the relationship between agriculture and Christianity, and the still unsolved mysteries of human consciousness. Complemented by a wealth of illustrations and written with the grace and accessibility for which Tattersall is widely admire, The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE invites us to take a closer look at the strange and distant beings who, over the course of millions of years, would become us.
Author: Frans B. M. De Waal
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Release Date: 2009-06-01
How did we become the linguistic, cultured, and hugely successful apes that we are? Our closest relatives--the other mentally complex and socially skilled primates--offer tantalizing clues. In "Tree of Origin" nine of the world's top primate experts read these clues and compose the most extensive picture to date of what the behavior of monkeys and apes can tell us about our own evolution as a species. It has been nearly fifteen years since a single volume addressed the issue of human evolution from a primate perspective, and in that time we have witnessed explosive growth in research on the subject. "Tree of Origin" gives us the latest news about bonobos, the "make love not war" apes who behave so dramatically unlike chimpanzees. We learn about the tool traditions and social customs that set each ape community apart. We see how DNA analysis is revolutionizing our understanding of paternity, intergroup migration, and reproductive success. And we confront intriguing discoveries about primate hunting behavior, politics, cognition, diet, and the evolution of language and intelligence that challenge claims of human uniqueness in new and subtle ways. "Tree of Origin" provides the clearest glimpse yet of the apelike ancestor who left the forest and began the long journey toward modern humanity.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2015-06-09
In his new book The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, human paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall argues that a long tradition of "human exceptionalism" in paleoanthropology has distorted the picture of human evolution. Drawing partly on his own career—from young scientist in awe of his elders to crotchety elder statesman—Tattersall offers an idiosyncratic look at the competitive world of paleoanthropology, beginning with Charles Darwin 150 years ago, and continuing through the Leakey dynasty in Africa, and concluding with the latest astonishing findings in the Caucasus. The book's title refers to the 1856 discovery of a clearly very old skull cap in Germany's Neander Valley. The possessor had a brain as large as a modern human, but a heavy low braincase with a prominent brow ridge. Scientists tried hard to explain away the inconvenient possibility that this was not actually our direct relative. One extreme interpretation suggested that the preserved leg bones were curved by both rickets, and by a life on horseback. The pain of the unfortunate individual's affliction had caused him to chronically furrow his brow in agony, leading to the excessive development of bone above the eye sockets. The subsequent history of human evolutionary studies is full of similarly fanciful interpretations. With tact and humor, Tattersall concludes that we are not the perfected products of natural processes, but instead the result of substantial doses of random happenstance.
Although Charles Darwin's theory of evolution laid the foundations of modern biology, it did not tell the whole story. Most remarkably, The Origin of Species said very little about, of all things, the origins of species. Darwin and his modern successors have shown very convincingly how inherited variations are naturally selected, but they leave unanswered how variant organisms come to be in the first place.In Symbiotic Planet, renowned scientist Lynn Margulis shows that symbiosis, which simply means members of different species living in physical contact with each other, is crucial to the origins of evolutionary novelty. Ranging from bacteria, the smallest kinds of life, to the largest—the living Earth itself—Margulis explains the symbiotic origins of many of evolution's most important innovations. The very cells we're made of started as symbiotic unions of different kinds of bacteria. Sex—and its inevitable corollary, death—arose when failed attempts at cannibalism resulted in seasonally repeated mergers of some of our tiniest ancestors. Dry land became forested only after symbioses of algae and fungi evolved into plants. Since all living things are bathed by the same waters and atmosphere, all the inhabitants of Earth belong to a symbiotic union. Gaia, the finely tuned largest ecosystem of the Earth's surface, is just symbiosis as seen from space. Along the way, Margulis describes her initiation into the world of science and the early steps in the present revolution in evolutionary biology; the importance of species classification for how we think about the living world; and the way “academic apartheid” can block scientific advancement. Written with enthusiasm and authority, this is a book that could change the way you view our living Earth.
Designed to help students understand the multiple levels at which human populations respond to their surroundings, this essential text offers the most complete discussion of environmental, physiologic.
Author: Steve Olson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Human beings
Until just a few years ago, we knew surprisingly little about the 150,000 or so years of human existence before the advent of writing. Some of the most momentous events in our past - including our origins, our migrations across the globe, and our acquisition of language - were veiled in the uncertainty of 'prehistory'. That veil is being lifted at last by geneticists and other scientists. Mapping Human History is nothing less than an astonishing 'history of prehistory'. Steve Olson travelled through four continents to gather insights into the development of humans and our expansion throughout the world. He describes, for example, new thinking about how centres of agriculture sprang up among disparate foraging societies at roughly the same time. He tells why most of us can claim Julius Caesar and Confucius among our forebears. He pinpoints why the ways in which the story of the Jewish people jibes with, and diverges from, biblical accounts. And using very recent genetic findings, he explodes the myth that human races are a biological reality.