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From Lucy to Language Hardcover – 26 Nov 1996


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (26 Nov 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684810239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684810232
  • Product Dimensions: 26.3 x 2.9 x 30.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,382,737 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'A superb example of popular science writing' Mail on Sunday 'Rarely does one encounter a book that is readable, informative and beautifully illustrated... a precious discovery' New Scientist --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

An informative and accessible guide to human evolution. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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A HUMAN is any member of the species Homo sapiens ("wise man"), the only living representative of the family Hominidae. Read the first page
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Dec 2000
Format: Paperback
If for nothing else, this book should be bought for its' stunnung photographic record of human evolution from modern humans to the earliest remains of bipedal hominids dating over 4 Million Years. The text in itself is rather concise, reading more like an encyclopaedic account of evolution and identifying key events and developments in the evolutionary process. However, the book identifies clearly current (within the last 2-3 years) thinking on evolution and backs it up with the most complete photographic collection of early remains and associated evidence. The book will appeal more to students of the subject rather than to someone wishing to gain an initial high-level overview of human evolution, but is nevertheless not too heavily pitched towards complex & "in-the-know" terminology that will baffle and confuse. However, it is the photography that makes the publication & is reason alone to buy this publication.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wonderful photographs, beautifully written, enormous depth of scope. Johansson makes everything so clear and easy to understand. This, along with "Lucy", should be considered as essential reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stumbled on this in Dinosaur world in the Isle of Wight. There is an employee there that really Knows about the history of our species and this is one of the books that explains how we evolved. It is his quote "we are all one race, human race. there are just region variations of the species". With great graphics comparing us through the ages, every home and school should have this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Life-sized photos.... 7 Feb 2000
By Howard Clark Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's about time - a book focusing on the PHOTOS of fossilized hominids. Most books on human evolution entertain us with page after page of text. This book features picture after picture of life-sized hominid fossils. It does contain text - very well written and discusses the fossils at length - a wonderful piece of work - it deserves six stars...
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Most complete overview of the hominid record, images 11 April 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is the most complete review of the hominid fossil record I have yet seen.
The first half, "Central Issues of Paleoanthropology", is complete and concise coverage of the science of paleoanthropology, that makes the subject come alive and is generously illustrated.
The jewels, however, are contained in the second part - "Encountering the Evidence". In this section, there is full coverage of the fossil record of every hominid species. The narrative is engaging and always interesting, and the photographs, usually two or three for each type, are simply breathtaking. You won't see a more exciting collection of hominid fossil images anywhere.
My advice: start with this book, then get Johanson's "Lucy" books and Richard Leakey's "Origins" books, to really appreciate the range of debate and the flavor of the competitiveness in human origins research.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Great for just about anybody... 22 May 2004
By Michael Valdivielso - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want a solid, detailed book about the search for mankind's origins this is it. The first part of the book deals with the science of paleoanthropology, the nuts and bolts of how it works, from dating fossils, firepits and artifacts to studying past climates. The book also reveals to us the debates within society about where humans came from and what it means to be human. Will the answers change the way we think about ourselves and how what we will do in the future?
The second part shows us the evidence - bones. Skulls, teeth, fingers. In clear photos, many of them actual size so we can see for ourselves what the text is telling us. It ends with a couple of pages on stone tools and their development.
The two authors did their best to make the book complete BUT they also did not talk down to the reader. They don't assume you know everything, but they don't assume you're a fossil hunter either. For pros or beginners alike.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Paleoanthropology For Your Coffee Table 18 Dec 2005
By Ralph White - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is nearly beyond belief that this book exists. Imagine walking into Simon and Schuster and telling them that you want to make a large format, glossy color coffee table book on paleoanthropology, and that you want to spare no expense in its production! Imagine trying to convince them that the demand exists for a large scale printing, thus reducing the unit price to a mere $60! Imagine telling them that every second or third page was to be a full page studio portrait of a skull, or perhaps a mandible! And every single photo in color! Even as I hold the book in my hands, and examine Bill Kimble's life size photo of Australopithecus afarensis, I shake my head in wonder.

Yet the genuinely marvelous feature of this book is its integration of the academic side of paleoanthropology with the eye-catching photography. Whether you are a novice or an old hand, Donald Johanson's comprehensive step by step discussion will inform and entertain you. I'm a serious student of paleoanthropology, yet found new material in the many sections: sexual dimorphism, gestation, maturation, language, and emerging consciousness. I'd never seen photos of cranial endocasts, and there are four from Australopithecus on one page. And there is a great deal for everyone in the reconstruction of the appearance of early humans. The photo of a lifelike Australopithecus afarensis is positively haunting.

The book presents the paleoanthropological coursework in the first half of the book, and presents bio summaries of specific hominids in the second half, along with their cranial portraits. By the time Johanson refers to Homo ergaster's temporomandibular joint, we hardly need the parenthical definition (connects the lower jaw with the cranium).

Blake Edgar's prose and David Brill's photos enhance Donald Johanson's scholarship, resulting in a book that is stunning in appearance and easy to read. It is the state of the art by any definition. Hats off to everyone involved in this masterpiece.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A glorious addition to the world of hominid study 11 Dec 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
For those of us who are armchair archeologists/anthropologists
this book is a glorious addition to the world of hominid study.
The authors have composed a beautiful photographic album of hundreds
of examples of early hominid fossils. Life size photographs of
skulls, mandibles, femurs (all the bones that give evidence for
upright, bipedal walking) adorn the pages of this glossy, "cocktail
table" type book. Some photographs show the skeletons of the
hominids in situ (still in the ground, half buried).The accompanying
text explains clearly the theories that have been developed based
on the fossilized bones depicted in the book. The controversies
surrounding the fossils and the theories is presented in a
straightforward manner. The difficulties in obtaining specimens
and the diversity of opinon in trying to explain the meanings of
them are set forth in an interesting and easily read style. The
earliest upright hominids date back almost 4.5 million years.
Along the way to Homo sapiens have been many ancestors and more
than a few dead ends. This book looks at them all and makes an
admirable effort to give each one its hour in the sun. This is
the best book on early hominids I've ever seen.
Nina H. Ward, M.D.
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