Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins

By: Roger Lewin (Author)

366 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations

University of Chicago Press

Paperback | Aug 1997 | Edition: 2 | #65709 | ISBN: 0226476510
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £20.50 $25/€23 approx

About this book

Please note: not to be confused with the 2003 book by Paul Chambers by the same title.

Bones of Contention is a behind-the-scenes look at the search for human origins. Analyzing how the biases and preconceptions of paleoanthropologists shaped their work, Roger Lewin's detective stories about the discovery of Neanderthal Man, the Taung Child, Lucy, and other major fossils provide insight into this most subjective of scientific endeavors. The new afterword looks at ways in which paleoanthropology, while becoming more scientific in many ways, remains contentious.

"[An] un-put-downable book."
– John Gribbon, Times Educational Supplement

"Not just another 'stones and bones' account of human evolution. It is Lewin's thesis, amply demonstrated, that paleoanthropology is the most subjective of sciences because it engages the emotions of virtually everyone; and since the evidence is scrappy, interpretation is everything [...] A splendid, stirring, and eye-opening account, to be devoured."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"[Lewin shows] 'how very unscientific the process of scientific inquiry can be.' [...] Bones of Contention is [...] serious intellectual history."
– Edward Dolnick, Wall Street Journal

"[Lewin] documents his thesis in persuasive detail [...] The reader is carried along by the power of Mr. Lewin's reporting."
– Robert Wright, New York Times Book Review



1. Bones of Contention
2. The Storytellers
3. The Taung Child: Rejection
4. The Taung Child: Acceptance
5. Rama's Ape: Resurrected
6. Rama's Ape: Destroyed
7. The Leakeys: Father
8. The Leakeys: Son
9. The KBS Tuff Controversy: Genesis
10. The KBS Tuff Controversy: Denouement
11. Lucy: The Naming
12. Lucy: The Response
13. Man's Place in Nature


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