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Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Earth Before Humans Hardcover – 12 Nov 1992


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Century (12 Nov. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712698248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712698245
  • Product Dimensions: 25.6 x 16 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 627,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sagan was Dir. of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies & David Duncan Prof. of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell University.He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking & Voyage expeditions to the planets & was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature. He died in 1996.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love Carl Sagan like "a god" although being from a younger generation, I did not have the chance to benefit from his teachings live.

Having read few of his books (this one I understand written with his wife), I found this one was a bit different than usual. Admitedly, I was expecting something different from the title but not sure what exactly, perhaps something mystical. This book is relatively purely centered on our direct ancestors that started to walk upright few million years ago. It mainly deals with evolution, DNA and biology.
Carl provides us with tons of anecdots and stories from experiments with chimps. This really works well in this book. Carl's language in this book can actually in some places be quite strong but always serves the purpose.
I particularly liked the parts dealing with the purpose of DNA. A well known biologist said smth like our bodies are simple shells to protect the fragile DNA chain of proteins and make it meet its end. I believe that is true.

Some very simple and naked truths come out of this book. For example Carl explains the behaviour in a group of chimps, what leaders do, etc. Carl related every little habits we have in everyday life to these long forgotten times when we were dwelling in caves. For example the exitment to have a sexual intercourse with a total stranger away from the tribe territory or comfort zone.

The 2/3 pages story on the alpha male in the middle of the book is really speaking to the reader.
In 2/3 pages, this summarises quite well our every day life. We like to think ourselves completely departed from that time of our evolution but we are not. We are still animals that hardly control their pulsions. Sagan explains all this very well.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bloss on 19 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
informative view on life, not forward thinking enough for me . not much else to say really except some would really enjoy it .
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2 of 12 people found the following review helpful By steveyorkkei on 19 Sept. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Carl has pulled together a great deal of topics here and put them together to try to answer the Big One... where did we come from? There are some wonderful sections to this book, the explanation of Darwin's theory of evolution, mixed in with biographical details of Darwin's life at the time he formulated his theories is a joy to read. Other sections explaining DNA and Behaviour modes are equally interesting. But sadly, Carl seems intent, almost from the very start, to use his ability to take complex scientific facts and explain them in clear terms, to take pot shots at God and those who believe in God. It is bizarre that somone who requires stringent proof for scientific facts, feels that he can, without providing one jot of evidence or proof, state that the very existence of the universe and everything in it, including Life here on Earth, means there is no need for a God. It's like me saying that the fact that I have a manual that explains how my car works means that there is no need for a car designer. STOOOOOPID!!!!!! How could he NOT see the folly of his persistent little swipes at God? Had he not made any reference to God at all this would have been a masterpiece. But being of a religious nature myself, I found this book tragically flawed by these irritating and totally irational and unncessary comments.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The one BOOK ABOUT US HUMANS YOU MUST READ...MAKES EVERYTHING CLEAR 21 Mar. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read many books on where we started and how we got here. OUR KIND is a wonderful, albeit slightly dated with regards to the newest breakthroughs. SHADOWS is in 5 gear when explaining not only where we came from but more importantly how we became who we are. The concept of hard wireing and the realization that ever when we think we are making decesions, our DNA and embedded proteins push us towards the enevitable. This book should be required reading both in high school biology and in college anthropology. It is clearly written, with understandable examples, adaquate referances, and a subtle sense of humor. Its a shame that there isn't a sequale or at least another book by Sagan and Druyan. They have given us such clear insights as to who and why we are.
Mitchell Major
Primates are the descendants of our ancestors. 13 Oct. 2014
By Sandra E. Nyman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not read this yet. I'm sure it will make us all think about how we treat our forgotten ancestors, the primates.
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