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A Very Short Introduction to Human Evolution
on 23 August 2010
These Short Introductions are a bit of a mixed bag. This one is absolutely excellent. It's well laid out with very clear chapters entitled:
Finding our place
Fossil hominins: their discovery and context
Fossil hominins: analysis and interpretation
Early hominins: possible and probable
Archaic and transitional hominins
Strangely, it has the same diagram of different hominins repeated three times in the book, each with with different titles. It seems to be a copy-editing error but is actually rather useful!
The writing is clear and lucid and a joy to read. It's always a great reading pleasure when you come across a factual author who can actually 'write'.
The author, Bernard Wood, has impeccable qualifications:
he is Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University and a Senior Scientist in the Human Origins Programme of the Smithsonian Institute. He is a medically qualified palaeoanthropologist and was on Richard Leakey's first expedition to Lake Rudolph in 1968 and has pursued research in the field ever since.
The book was published in 2005, so will need an update soon but, meanwhile, I highly recommend it as an introduction to a fascinating subject about which we know so little.