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Evidence for a purely Darwinian account of human origins is supposed to be overwhelming. But is it? In this provocative book, three scientists challenge the claim that undirected natural selection is capable of building a human being, critically assess fossil and genetic evidence that human beings share a common ancestor with apes, and debunk recent claims that the human race could not have started from an original couple.
Our understanding of human origins has been revolutionized by new discoveries in the past two decades. In this book, three leading paleoanthropologists and physical scientists illuminate, in friendly, accessible language, the amazing findings behind the latest theories. They describe new scientific and technical tools for dating, DNA analysis, remote survey, and paleoenvironmental assessment that enabled recent breakthroughs in research. They also explain the early development of the modern human cortex, the evolution of symbolic language and complex tools, and our strange cousins from Flores and Denisova.
Recounts the world-famous paleoanthropologist's attempts to solve the mystery of human evolution, using evidence uncovered during his recent forays into the fossil-rich regions of Eastern Africa. TV tie-in. 35,000 first printing. $35,000 ad/promo. Tour.
“Lucy is a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton who has become the spokeswoman for human evolution. She is perhaps the best known and most studied fossil hominid of the twentieth century, the benchmark by which other discoveries of human ancestors are judged.”–From Lucy’s Legacy In his New York Times bestseller, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson told the incredible story of his discovery of a partial female skeleton that revolutionized the study of human origins. Lucy literally changed our understanding of our world and who we come from. Since that dramatic find in 1974, there has been heated debate and–most important–more groundbreaking discoveries that have further transformed our understanding of when and how humans evolved. In Lucy’s Legacy, Johanson takes readers on a fascinating tour of the last three decades of study–the most exciting period of paleoanthropologic investigation thus far. In that time, Johanson and his colleagues have uncovered a total of 363 specimens of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy’s species, a transitional creature between apes and humans), spanning 400,000 years. As a result, we now have a unique fossil record of one branch of our family tree–that family being humanity–a tree that is believed to date back a staggering 7 million years. Focusing on dramatic new fossil finds and breakthrough advances in DNA research, Johanson provides the latest answers that post-Lucy paleoanthropologists are finding to questions such as: How did Homo sapiens evolve? When and where did our species originate? What separates hominids from the apes? What was the nature of Neandertal and modern human encounters? What mysteries about human evolution remain to be solved? Donald Johanson is a passionate guide on an extraordinary journey from the ancient landscape of Hadar, Ethiopia–where Lucy was unearthed and where many other exciting fossil discoveries have since been made–to a seaside cave in South Africa that once sheltered early members of our own species, and many other significant sites. Thirty-five years after Lucy, Johanson continues to enthusiastically probe the origins of our species and what it means to be human. From the Hardcover edition.
Ever since Charles Darwin first published The Origin of Species on November 24, 1859, the subject of origins has been one of the most controversial topics around. Sadly, it also is a subject that is fraught with erroneous theories and concepts. Most students today are taught that organic evolution is not a theory, but a "fact" that all "reputable scientists" accept. Disclaimers from the evolutionary community notwithstanding, such a claim is, quite simply, wrong. We believe it is time for someone to offer what renowned news commentator Paul Harvey would call "the rest of the story." That is what The Truth About Human Origins does. It tells the rest of the story as it discusses the scientific facts about mankind's beginning. For example, it investigates the "record of the rocks" as that record relates to human evolution. It demonstrates how evolutionary theory is unable to explain things like the origin of gender and sexual reproduction, the origin of language and communication, the origin of the brain, the mind, and human consciousness, and the origin of skin colors and blood types. It also examines in an in-depth fashion the so-called "molecular evidence" of human evolution.
Ever since the recognition of the Neanderthals as an archaic human in the mid-nineteenth century, the fossilized bones of extinct humans have been used by paleoanthropologists to explore human origins. These bones told the story of how the earliest humans—bipedal apes, actually—first emerged in Africa some 6 to 7 million years ago. Starting about 2 million years ago, the bones revealed, as humans became anatomically and behaviorally more modern, they swept out of Africa in waves into Asia, Europe and finally the New World. Even as paleoanthropologists continued to make important discoveries—Mary Leakey’s Nutcracker Man in 1959, Don Johanson’s Lucy in 1974, and most recently Martin Pickford’s Millennium Man, to name just a few—experts in genetics were looking at the human species from a very different angle. In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick first saw the double helix structure of DNA, the basic building block of all life. In the 1970s it was shown that humans share 98.7% of their genes with the great apes—that in fact genetically we are more closely related to chimpanzees than chimpanzees are to gorillas. And most recently the entire human genome has been mapped—we now know where each of the genes on the chromosomes that make up DNA is located on the double helix. In Human Origins: What Bones and Genomes Tell Us about Ourselves, two of the world’s foremost scientists, geneticist Rob DeSalle and paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall, show how research into the human genome confirms what fossil bones have told us about human origins. This unprecedented integration of the fossil and genomic records provides the most complete understanding possible of humanity’s place in nature, its emergence from the rest of the living world, and the evolutionary processes that have molded human populations to be what they are today. Human Origins serves as a companion volume to the American Museum of Natural History’s new permanent exhibit, as well as standing alone as an accessible overview of recent insights into what it means to be human.
He reveals how what began as biblical criticism became a theological apologetic to reconcile religion with science—evolution in particular—and was later used to support arguments for white supremacy and segregation. From heresy to orthodoxy, from radicalism to conservatism, from humanitarianism to racism, Adam's Ancestors tells an intriguing tale of twists and turns in the cultural politics surrounding the age-old question, "Where did we come from?"

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