Traces of Life: The Origins of Humankind

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9780688072377: Traces of Life: The Origins of Humankind
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Discusses research and theories concerning the earliest human beings

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-- One of the innate difficulties in writing a history of human evolution is that most of what we know is based on the existing fossil record. Paleoanthropologists must try to hypothesize from fragmentary findings of bones and artifacts the overall history of human development as well as the importance these found objects have to one another. Lasky tackles human evolution, the science of paleoanthropology, along with biographical information about some of the scientists, all in one book. It's a lot of material to cover, and she is only partially successful at clarifying an already complex topic. A comparison with Sattler's Hominids (Lothrop, 1988) makes obvious the disorganization of Lasky's text. For example, Sattler's chapter headings, named for the species of hominid, immediately clue readers into both the subject matter and the time period covered. Lasky's text demands that it be read through, cover to cover, and even then readers may be left without a clear picture of who or what came first. For example, biographical sketches of the Leakeys are presented at least two chapters after they've been mentioned in the text. This convoluted presentation and the intermingling of fiction and nonfiction only add to readers' confusion. There are also some very disturbing problems with the illustrations. Charts and inanimate objects are clear and well-drawn; hominids and humans appear awkward and ungraceful. Most of the hominids are drawn without body hair, a peculiarity unexplained in the text. Even more ironic in a scientific book on human evolution is the lack of any hint of genitalia on any, even forward-facing hominids. Skip this one, and stick with Sattler's book, which is both current and more accessible. --Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

This is an involving, well-crafted survey of paleoanthropology. Lasky offers extensive information on the history of hominid research and its scientists, occasionally breaking up the text with brief musings on the lives of the early hominids, though readers may be confused by these interludes as the book's design does not clearly set them off from the factual narrative. This oversized book is heavily illustrated throughout with pencil drawings and charts. There is an excellent index and bibliography but the book would benefit from a glossary of the various genera and species of all the hominids included. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Kathryn Lasky
Published by William Morrow & Co (1990)
ISBN 10: 0688072372 ISBN 13: 9780688072377
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Kathryn Lasky, Whitney Powell (Illustrator)
Published by William Morrow & Co (1990)
ISBN 10: 0688072372 ISBN 13: 9780688072377
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