Human life, and how we came to be, is one of the greatest scientific and philosophical questions of our time. This compact and accessible book presents a modern view of human evolution. Written by a leading authority, it lucidly and engagingly explains not only the evolutionary process but the technologies currently used to unravel the evolutionary past and emergence of Homo sapiens. By separating the history of palaeoanthropology from current interpretation of the human fossil record, it lays numerous misconceptions to rest and demonstrates that human evolution has been far from the linear struggle from primitiveness to perfection that we've been led to believe. It also presents a coherent scenario for how Homo sapiens contrived to cross a formidable cognitive barrier to become an extraordinary and unprecedented thinking creature. Elegantly illustrated, Understanding Human Evolution is for anyone interested in the complex and tangled story of how we came to be.
2. Technology: dating, diets, and development
3. Discovery and interpretation of the human fossil record: the early days
4. Discovery and interpretation of the human fossil record: more recent developments
5. Early bipeds
6. The muddle in the middle
7. Homo heidelbergensis and the Neanderthals
8. The emergence and spread of Homo sapiens
Ian Tattersall is Curator Emeritus in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. With around 400 papers and 30 books published in primatology and evolutionary biology, he has received prizes from organisations ranging from the American Association of Physical Anthropologists to the Accademia Lincei of Rome and the Monuments Conservancy. He has conducted fieldwork in countries as diverse as Madagascar, Yemen, Vietnam and Mauritius.