• Science

Masters of the Planet

The Search for Our Human Origins
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 023010875X
Category: Science
Page: 266
View: 4438
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.

    • Science

Becoming Human

Evolution and Human Uniqueness
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780156006538
Category: Science
Page: 258
View: 6649
Explores the evolution of humankind--who we are, where we came from, and where we are going

    • Science

Lone Survivors

How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth
Author: Chris Stringer
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1429973447
Category: Science
Page: 336
View: 1967
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.

    • Science

The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack

and Other Cautionary Tales from Human Evolution
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1466879432
Category: Science
Page: 256
View: 8154
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.

    • History

The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE


Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199799008
Category: History
Page: 160
View: 6015
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.

    • Science

Dawn of Man

The Story of Human Evolution
Author: Robin McKie
Publisher: Dk Pub
ISBN: N.A
Category: Science
Page: 216
View: 9181
Traces the origins and evolution of human beings, from the earliest prehistoric fossil record to the latest evidence based on genetic research.

    • Religion

Paleontology

A Brief History of Life
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Templeton Foundation Press
ISBN: 1599473682
Category: Religion
Page: 232
View: 2902
"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.

    • History

Born in Africa

The Quest for the Origins of Human Life
Author: Martin Meredith
Publisher: Public Affairs
ISBN: 1610391055
Category: History
Page: 230
View: 7820
The author of The Fate of Africa chronicles the efforts of anthropologists, archeologists and other scientists to uncover the many mysteries of human origins.

    • Nature

Tree of Origin

What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution
Author: Frans B. M. De Waal
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674033023
Category: Nature
Page: 320
View: 6128
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.

    • Science

Origins

Human Evolution Revealed
Author: Douglas Palmer
Publisher: Mitchell Beazley
ISBN: 9781845334741
Category: Science
Page: 256
View: 4527

    • Nature

The Fossil Trail

How We Know what We Think We Know about Human Evolution
Author: Ian Tattersall
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780195109818
Category: Nature
Page: 276
View: 3863
Tattersall describes Dubois's work in Java, the many discoveries in South Africa by pioneers such as Raymond Dart and Robert Broom, Louis and Mary Leakey's work at Olduvai Gorge, Don Johanson's famous discovery of "Lucy" (a 3.4 million-year-old female hominid, some 40% complete), and the more recent discovery of the "Turkana Boy," even more complete than "Lucy" and remarkably similar to modern human skeletons. He discusses the many techniques available to analyze finds, from fluorine analysis (developed in the 1950s, it exposed Piltdown as a hoax) and radiocarbon dating to such modern techniques as electron spin resonance and the analysis of human mitochondrial DNA. He gives us a succinct picture of what we presently think our family tree looks like, with at least three genera and perhaps a dozen species through time (though he warns that this greatly underestimates the actual diversity of hominids over the past two million or so years). And he paints a vivid, insider's portrait of paleoanthropology, the dogged work in the broiling sun, searching for a tooth or a fractured corner of bone amid stone litter and shadows, with no guarantee of ever finding anything.

    • Human beings

Mapping Human History

Discovering the Past Through Our Genes
Author: Steve Olson
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 9780747560166
Category: Human beings
Page: 292
View: 7805
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.

    • Science

The Artificial Ape

How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution
Author: Timothy Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9780230109735
Category: Science
Page: 256
View: 4899
A breakthrough theory that tools and technology are the real drivers of human evolution Although humans are one of the great apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, we are remarkably different from them. Unlike our cousins who subsist on raw food, spend their days and nights outdoors, and wear a thick coat of hair, humans are entirely dependent on artificial things, such as clothing, shelter, and the use of tools, and would die in nature without them. Yet, despite our status as the weakest ape, we are the masters of this planet. Given these inherent deficits, how did humans come out on top? In this fascinating new account of our origins, leading archaeologist Timothy Taylor proposes a new way of thinking about human evolution through our relationship with objects. Drawing on the latest fossil evidence, Taylor argues that at each step of our species' development, humans made choices that caused us to assume greater control of our evolution. Our appropriation of objects allowed us to walk upright, lose our body hair, and grow significantly larger brains. As we push the frontiers of scientific technology, creating prosthetics, intelligent implants, and artificially modified genes, we continue a process that started in the prehistoric past, when we first began to extend our powers through objects. Weaving together lively discussions of major discoveries of human skeletons and artifacts with a reexamination of Darwin's theory of evolution, Taylor takes us on an exciting and challenging journey that begins to answer the fundamental question about our existence: what makes humans unique, and what does that mean for our future?

    • Human beings

The Origin of Our Species


Author: Chris Stringer
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780141037202
Category: Human beings
Page: 333
View: 6597
Do all humans originate from Africa? How did we spread across the globe? Are we separate from Neanderthals, or do some of us actually have their genes? When did humans become 'modern' - are traits such as art, technology, language, ritual and belief unique to us? Has human evolution stopped, or are we still evolving? Chris Stringer has been involved in much of the crucial research into the origins of humanity, and here he draws on a wealth of evidence - from fossils and archaeology to the mysteries of ancient DNA - to reveal the definitive story of where we came from, how we lived, how we got here and who we are. 'Stringer's work as the lead researcher in human origins at the Natural History Museum has given him unique insight and knowledge . . . my advice: read this book soon.' New Scientist 'Britain's foremost expert on human evolution . . . you need a primer to make sense of the story so far. Here is that book.' Guardian 'As close to the horse's mouth as it gets . . . The Origin of Our Species should be the one-stop source on the subject. Read it now' BBC Focus

    • Science

The First Human

The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors
Author: Ann Gibbons
Publisher: Anchor
ISBN: 140007696X
Category: Science
Page: 303
View: 596
An account of the search for the missing link between humans and apes journeys into the competitive world of fossil hunting and the lives of competing scientists determined to uncover the mysteries of human evolution.

    • True Crime

Hoax: A History of Deception

5,000 Years of Fakes, Forgeries, and Fallacies
Author: Ian Tattersall,Peter Névraumont
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
ISBN: 0316503703
Category: True Crime
Page: 256
View: 6938
An entertaining collection of the most audacious and underhanded deceptions in the history of mankind, from sacred relics to financial schemes to fake art, music, and identities. World history is littered with tall tales and those who have fallen for them. Ian Tattersall, a curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, has teamed up with Peter Névraumont to tell this anti-history of the world, in which Michelangelo fakes a masterpiece; Arctic explorers seek an entrance into a hollow Earth; a Shakespeare tragedy is "rediscovered"; a financial scheme inspires Charles Ponzi; a spirit photographer snaps Abraham Lincoln's ghost; people can survive ingesting only air and sunshine; Edgar Allen Poe is the forefather of fake news; and the first human was not only British but played cricket. Told chronologically, HOAX begins with the first documented announcement of the end of the world in 2800 BC and winds its way through controversial tales such as the Loch Ness Monster and the Shroud of Turin, past proven fakes such as the Thomas Jefferson's ancient wine and the Davenport Tablets built by a lost race, and explores bald-faced lies in the worlds of art, science, literature, journalism, and finance.

    • Computers

The Master Algorithm

How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World
Author: Pedro Domingos
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465061923
Category: Computers
Page: 352
View: 5375
"Wonderfully erudite, humorous, and easy to read." --KDNuggets In the world's top research labs and universities, the race is on to invent the ultimate learning algorithm: one capable of discovering any knowledge from data, and doing anything we want, before we even ask. In The Master Algorithm, Pedro Domingos lifts the veil to give us a peek inside the learning machines that power Google, Amazon, and your smartphone. He assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner-the Master Algorithm-and discusses what it will mean for business, science, and society. If data-ism is today's philosophy, this book is its bible.

    • Language Arts & Disciplines

Why Only Us

Language and Evolution
Author: Robert C. Berwick,Noam Chomsky
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262034247
Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
Page: 224
View: 7105
Berwick and Chomsky draw on recent developments in linguistic theory to offer an evolutionary account of language and humans' remarkable, species-specific ability to acquire it.

    • Science

Behave

The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst
Author: Robert M. Sapolsky
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0735222789
Category: Science
Page: 800
View: 8861
Why do we do the things we do? Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky's genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance. And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going--next to what features of the environment affected that person's brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual's group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old. The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

    • Science

The Ancient Origins of Consciousness

How the Brain Created Experience
Author: Todd E. Feinberg,Jon M. Mallatt
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262333279
Category: Science
Page: 392
View: 529
How is consciousness created? When did it first appear on Earth, and how did it evolve? What constitutes consciousness, and which animals can be said to be sentient? In this book, Todd Feinberg and Jon Mallatt draw on recent scientific findings to answer these questions -- and to tackle the most fundamental question about the nature of consciousness: how does the material brain create subjective experience? After assembling a list of the biological and neurobiological features that seem responsible for consciousness, and considering the fossil record of evolution, Feinberg and Mallatt argue that consciousness appeared much earlier in evolutionary history than is commonly assumed. About 520 to 560 million years ago, they explain, the great "Cambrian explosion" of animal diversity produced the first complex brains, which were accompanied by the first appearance of consciousness; simple reflexive behaviors evolved into a unified inner world of subjective experiences. From this they deduce that all vertebrates are and have always been conscious -- not just humans and other mammals, but also every fish, reptile, amphibian, and bird. Considering invertebrates, they find that arthropods (including insects and probably crustaceans) and cephalopods (including the octopus) meet many of the criteria for consciousness. The obvious and conventional wisdom--shattering implication is that consciousness evolved simultaneously but independently in the first vertebrates and possibly arthropods more than half a billion years ago. Combining evolutionary, neurobiological, and philosophical approaches allows Feinberg and Mallatt to offer an original solution to the "hard problem" of consciousness.