Extraordinary Story Human Origins

Piero Angela, Author, Valter Fogato, Illustrator, Alberto Angela, With
Piero Angela, Author, Valter Fogato, Illustrator, Alberto Angela, With Prometheus Books $38 (328p) ISBN 978-0-87975-803-5
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This superb, concise introduction to human origins is a popularly written yet sophisticated reenactment of the long evolutionary journey from apelike pre-hominids to Homo sapiens sapiens . The authors neatly summarize the controversies surrounding such enigmas as the emergence of bipedalism, the evolutionary pressures that led to our direct ancestors, Homo habilis , and the abrupt disappearance of Europe's Neanderthal people. The Neanderthals, we learn, possessed an aesthetic sense and ritually buried their dead, and some of them, assert the authors, had blue eyes and blond hair. Extrapolating from the fossil record, they imaginatively reconstruct the discovery of fire, the communal life of Homo erectus and the migration of Homo sapiens sapiens from Africa to western Europe. Piero Angela is an Italian journalist; Alberto Angela has done fieldwork with Donald Johanson, discoverer of the famed ``Lucy'' hominid skeleton in Ethiopia. Illustrated. (June)
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