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From Lucy to Languageby Donald Johanson
Synopses & Reviews
In 1974 in a remote region of Ethiopia, Donald Johanson, then one of America's most promising young paleoanthropologists, discovered "Lucy", the oldest, best preserved skeleton of any erect-walking human ever found. This discovery prompted a complete reevaluation of previous evidence for human origins.
In the years since this dramatic discovery Johanson has continued to scour East Africa's Great rift Valley for the earliest evidence of human origins. In 1975 this team unearthed the "First Family", an unparalleled fossil assemblage of 13 individuals dating back to 3.2 million years ago; and in 1986 at the Rift's most famous location, Olduvai Gorge, this same team discovered a 1.8 million-year-old partial adult skeleton that necessitated a reassessment of the earliest members of our own genus Homo.
Johanson's fieldwork continues unabated and recently more fossil members of Lucy's family have been found, including the 1992 discovery of the oldest, most complete skull of her species, with future research now planned for 1996 in the virtually unexplored regions of the most northern extension of the Rift Valley in Eritrea.
From Lucy to Language is a summing up of this remarkable career and a stunning documentary of human life through time on Earth. It is a combination of the vital experience of field work and the intellectual rigor of primary research. It is the fusion of two great writing talents: Johanson and Blake Edgar, an accomplished science writer, editor of the California Academy of Sciences' Pacific Discovery, and co-author of Johanson's last book, Ancestors.
From Lucy to Language is one of the greatest stories ever told, bracketing the timeline between bipedalism and human language. Part I addresses the central issues facing anyone seeking to decipher the mystery of human origins. In this section the authors provide answers to the basics — "What are our closest living relatives?" — tackle the controversial — "What is race?" — and contemplate the imponderables — "Why did consciousness evolve?"
From Lucy to Language is an encounter with the evidence. Early human fossils are hunted, discovered, identified, excavated, collected, preserved, labeled, cleaned, reconstructed, drawn, fondled, photographed, cast, compared, measured, revered, pondered, published, and argued over endlessly. Fossils like Lucy have become a talisman of sorts, promising to reveal the deepest secrets of our existence. In Part II the authors profile over fifty of the most significant early human fossils ever found. Each specimen is displayed in color and at actual size, most of them in multiple views. With them the authors present the cultural accoutrements associated with the fossils: stone tools which evidence increasing sophistication over time, the earliest stone, clay, and ivory art objects, and the culminating achievement of the dawn of human consciousness — the magnificent rock and cave paintings of Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.
In the end From Lucy to Language is a reminder and a challenge. Like no species before us, we now seem poised to control vast parts of the planet and its life. We possess the power to influence, if not govern, evolution. For that reason, we must not forget our link to the natural world and our debt to natural selection. We need to "think deep", to add a dose of geologic time and evolutionary history to our perspective of who we are, where we came from, and where we are headed. This is the most poignant lesson this book has to offer.
Now revised and updated, this groundbreaking volume by one of the world's foremost paleontologists presents the most complete visual proof ever assembled of the evidence for human evolution, displaying in full color all the key fossils and artifacts of human prehistory.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 265-268) and index.
About the Author
Donald Johanson has explored the Great Rift Valley of East Africa for more than two decades, seeking clues to our ultimate origins. One of the most lively and controversial scientists working today, he is the author of five previous books, the host of the three-part Nova series In Search of Human Origins, and continues to lecture regularly. Known worldwide for his discovery of the Lucy skeleton, he is founder and president of the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley, California, where he resides.
Table of Contents
Central Issues of Paleoanthropology
WHAT IS A HUMAN?
1. The Human Creature
2. The Quest for Origins
3. Is Human Evolution Different?
4. The Science of Paleoanthropology
5. The Early Human Fossil Record
6. Discovering Early Human Fossil Sites
7. Recovering the Remains of Early Humans
8. Dating Fossils and Artifacts
9. Climate and Human Evolution
11. Proteins, DNA, and Human Evolution
12. Why is Paleoanthropology So Contentious?
13. Our Closest Living Relatives
14. The Last Common Ancestor of Apes and Humans
15. Drawing the Human Family Tree
16. African Genesis
17. Early vs. Modern Humans
18. Eve, and Adam
19. The Earliest Fossil Evidence of Anatomically Modern Humans
20. Out of Africa
21. The First Americans
22. Peopling the Globe
23. Defining Human Species
24. Co-Existing Human Species
25. Human Diversity Today
26. What Is Race?
27. The Size of Early Humans
28. Sexual Dimorphism
31. Evolution of the Human Brain
32. Reconstructing the Appearance of Early Humans
32. Primate Societies and Early Human Social Behavior
34. Evidence for Bipedalism
35. The Origins of Bipedalism
36. The Oldest Stone Tools
37. Hunters, Gatherers, or Scavengers?
45. The Origins of Language
46. The Problem of Consciousness
47. Will Humans Become Extinct?
48. Place of Humans in Nature
Encountering the Evidence
Ardipithecus ramidus, ARA-VP-6/129, Juvenile Partial mandible
Australopithecus anamensis, KNM-KP 29281, Adult mandible
Australopithecus afarensis, A.L. 288-1, Lucy, Partial adult skeleton
Australopithecus afarensis, A.L. 333, Fragments of thirteen individuals
Australopithecus afarensis, A.L. 444-2, Adult cranium
Australopithecus afarensis, A.L. 129-1a+1b, Adult female knee joint
Australopithecus afarensis, L.H. 4, Adult mandible / Fossil hominid footprints
Australopithecus africanus, Sts 5, Mrs. Ples, Adult cranium
Australopithecus africanus, Sts 14, Partial adult skeleton
Australopithecus africanus, Sts 71 and Sts 36, Adult cranium and mandible
Australopithecus africanus, Taung Child, Juvenile skull
Australopithecus africanus, TM 1517, Adult partial cranium and mandible
Australopithecus sp., Stw 252, Adult cranium
Australopithecus robustus, SK 6, Adolescent mandible / SK 48, Adult cranium / SK 48, Adult cranium / SK 79, Adult cranium
Australopithecus aethiopicus, KNM-WT 17000, Black Skull, Adult cranium
Australopithecus boisei, OH 5, Zinj, Adult cranium
Australopithecus boisei, KNM-ER 406, Adult male cranium / KNM-ER 732, Adult female cranium
Homo sp., A.L. 666-1, Adult maxilla
Homo habilis, OH 7, Juvenile male partial skeleton
Homo habilis, OH 24, Adult female cranium
Homo habilis, KNM-ER 1813, Adult cranium
Homo habilis, OH 62, Partial adult skeleton
Homo rudolfensis, KNM-ER 1470, Adult cranium
Homo ergaster, KNM-ER 3733, Adult cranium
Homo ergaster, KNM-WT 1500, Juvenile male skeleton
Homo ergaster, SK 847, Partial adult cranium
Homo erectus, Trinil 2, Java Man, Adult partial cranium
Homo erectus, Peking Man, Adult skull reconstruction
Homo erectus, Sangiran 17, Adult male cranium
Homo heidelbergensis, Bodo cranium, Adult cranium
Homo heidelbergensis, Mauer 1, Adult mandible
Homo heidelbergensis, Arago XXI, Adult cranium
Homo heidelbergensis, Petralona 1, Adult cranium
Homo heidelbergensis, Streinheim, Adult female cranium
Homo heidelbergensis, Atapuerca 5, Adult skull
Homo heidelbergensis, Broken Hill 1, Adult cranium
Homo neanderthalensis, Krapina C, Adult female partial cranium
Homo neanderthalensis, Saccopastore I, Adult female cranium
Homo neanderthalensis, Teshik-Tash, Juvenile partial skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, Kebara 2, Adult male skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, Amud 1, Adult male skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, Amud 7, Partial infant skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, La Chapelle-aux-Saints, Adult male skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, La Ferrassie 1, Adult male skeleton
Homo neanderthalensis, Neandertal 1, Adult calotte
Homo neanderthalensis, Gibraltar 1, Adult female cranium
Homo neanderthalensis, Saint-Césaire, Partial adult skeleton
Homo sapient, Dali, Adult male cranium
Homo sapiens, Omo I and Omo II, Partial adult skeleton and cranium
Homo sapiens, Qafzeh IX, Adult female skeleton
Homo sapiens, Skhul V, Adult male skeleton
Homo sapiens, Cro-Magnon I, Adult male skeleton
Homo sapiens, Kow Swamp 1, Adult male skeleton
APPENDIX 1: TYPE SPECIMENS FOR HOMINID SPECIES
APPENDIX 2: HOMINID FOSSIL AND ARCHEOLOGICAL
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