How did humans evolve? Why did Homo sapiens survive when others did not? Do Neanderthals deserve their reputation as hairy, unintelligent ape-men? Douglas Palmer, an acclaimed science writer and lecturer, examines one aspect of evolution that has been particularly difficult for some to accept: humanity’s common ancestry with chimpanzees and other apes. Written for the general reader, and including the most up-to-date genetic research, this fascinating study explores the archeological finds and biological research that lead to the discovery of our own species. Palmer’s look at our link to a family tree of over 20 close relatives many now extinct provides intriguing insights and will change our perception of what it means to be human.
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Douglas Palmer is a science writer and lecturer. He is the author of Neanderthal, which accompanied the acclaimed Channel 4 TV series, as well as two other books on fossil prehistory. He is also a regular contributor to a variety of publications including the Financial Times, The Guardian, Science, Nature and Focus Magazine.From Publishers Weekly:
Starred Review. Comprehensive, up-to-date and exceedingly well-written, the newest from science writer Palmer (The Neanderthal) is a fascinating overview of research into human evolution, covering the entire history of the field and including contemporary studies of primatology, paleoecology and human genetics. With an exemplary knowledge of the rapidly changing field of human evolution and physical anthropology, Palmer details every aspect of the history of primate paleontology and present-day, highly-specialized work in climatology, taphonomy and genomics in language suitable for just about anyone. Palmer compares "mapping out the course of human evolution" to "putting together a very difficult jigsaw puzzle," and his informed guidance takes readers piece-by-piece through the complexities of the research itself, as well as the politics and personalities behind it. Each chapter includes thorough bibliographic citations as well as a well-chosen list of recommended reading. Clear writing, seamless transitions from topic to topic, even-handed presentation of even the most controversial material and clever illustrations all combine to produce a book worthy of recommendation to anyone wishing to understand the broad and continuously changing field of human evolution.
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