How did we develop from simple animals inhabiting small pockets of forest in Africa to the dominant species on Earth, capable of sending spaceships to the Moon?
Traveling back almost eight million years to our earliest primate relatives, Evolution: The Human Story charts the development of our species from tree-dwelling primates to modern humans. Evidence for the earliest primates goes back an astonishing 60 million years, but it was around seven million years ago that some apes started walking on two legs. This was the first sign of human-ness, of a lineage that would teeter on the brink of extinction several times, but would then go on to survive and prosper, providing the ancestors of a species that would eventually colonize every continent of the world except Antarctica-Homo sapiens.
Evolution: The Human Story investigates each of our ancestors in detail and in context, from the anatomy of their bones to the environment they lived in. Study of their fossil bones reveals what they ate, how they moved, and even what diseases they had to contend with, while environmental archaeology paints a picture of the world they inhabited. Add to this picture finds such as stone tools, bone and stone carvings, and early art, and Evolution: The Human Story takes on a depth and fascination that is hard to resist.
Evolution: The Human Story is arranged into five sections. The first places the story of human evolution in a historical context and lays the foundations for understanding the processes of evolution and the formation of the fossil record. It also explores the techniques scientists use to unearth and understand the evidence of our past, including archaeology, anthropology, and evolutionary biology. The second section focuses on primates past and present, allowing comparisons between us and other apes, and putting us in a broader context. Section three is a comprehensive illustrated catalog of ancient hominin species, up to and including our own. The fourth section examines the spread of early hominin species out of Africa, then describes how "modern" humans came to colonize every continent. The final section looks at the revolutionary transition from hunter-gathering to a settled life at the dawn of the Neolithic, and takes us into the Bronze Age.
1. UNDERSTANDING OUR PAST (28pp)
Rocks, fossils, and climate
How the study of geology helps us to understand the past, date fossils, and reconstruct ancient climate. The geological timescale and fossil formation and preservation.
How evolution works, how species are classified, how lineages are traced, and how species are related.
An introduction to techniques and what archaeology can tell us.
Bringing the fossils to life
How biological anthropology allows us to reconstruct ancient species from fossilized remains, and find out about their anatomy and behavior.
2. PRIMATES (20pp)
A chronological survey of primate evolution since their emergence 60 million years ago. Describes the ancient ancestors in the primate family tree and examines the evolutionary relationships between the living primate families. Includes a comparison of the anatomy and genetics of apes and humans, and examines the ways in which ape behavior, communication, and society compare to our own.
3. HOMININS-HUMANS AND THEIR ANCESTORS (112pp)
A catalog of fossil species, divided by time and group. It includes an exploration of the geography and climate of Africa during human evolution, and an in-depth analysis of hominin features, both anatomical and behavioral. Species covered include: Ardipithecus ramidus, Orrorin tugenensis, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Ardipithecus kadabba, Australopithecus anamensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Kenyanthropus platyops, Australopithecus bahrelghazali, Australopithecus Africanus, Paranthropus aethiopicus, Australopithecus garhi, Australopithecus sediba, Paranthropus boisei, Paranthropus robustus, Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo floresiensis, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, and anatomically modern Homo sapiens.
4. OUT OF AFRICA (22pp)
The story of the movement of humans from eastern Africa into other regions of the world. Includes early episodes of human migration that resulted in the presence of Homo erectus in Asia and Neanderthals in Europe. Uses maps to describe the gradual journey of "modern" humans from their African homelands through every continent.
5. FROM HUNTERS TO FARMERS (50pp)
Transition to post-glacial
Explains the climatic and environmental changes at the end of the last ice age and the opportunities these presented. Hunting and gathering The Paleolithic and the Mesolithic, tools and hunting weapons, survival in different environments.
The first farmers
Explains one of the most fundamental changes in the human way of life, with evidence from the Middle East and the Far East. The first crops and pottery.
Cities and states
The emergence of hierarchical society, population expansion, the clearing of forests, the emergence of the first cities, and the dawn of the Bronze Age.
Publication Date: 15 Aug 2011
Size: 254 x 301.625mm