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The extraordinary story of human origins

Author: Piero Angela; Alberto Angela
Publisher: Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"How far back can you trace your family tree? Most people cannot go beyond their great-great-grandparents. The oldest written records recount only our most recent past. The farther back in time we go, the fewer the surviving traces. How can we know about the lives of our ancestors who lived 30,000 - or 300,000 - or 3 million years ago?" "In The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins, Piero and Alberto Angela address  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Angela, Piero, 1928-
Extraordinary story of human origins.
Buffalo, N.Y. : Prometheus Books, 1993
(OCoLC)647678356
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Piero Angela; Alberto Angela
ISBN: 0879758031 9780879758035
OCLC Number: 27428459
Description: 328 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents: 1. Looking for Evidence --
2. The Forebears of Our Ancestors: The Pre-Hominids --
3. The Birth of the Bipeds --
4. The Unsettling Faces of the Past: The Australopithecines --
5. Toward Human Beings: Homo habilis --
6. Homo erectus: The Turning Point --
7. The Brain and the Word --
8. The Discovery of Fire --
9. Hunting and Food --
10. Communal Life --
11. Genealogical Trees and Shrubs --
12. The People of the Cold: The Neanderthals --
13. Life (and Death) of the Neanderthals --
14. The Star: Sapiens sapiens --
15. In a Hundred? Thousand? Million Years? --
Appendix 1: How to Date Fossils --
Appendix 2: Trauma and Disease Revealed in Bones --
Appendix 3: What Teeth Can Tell under the Microscope --
Appendix 4: The Advent of Tools.
Other Titles: Straodinaria storia dell'uomo.
Responsibility: Piero and Alberto Angela ; translated from the Italian by Gabriele Tonne ; illustrations by Valter Fogato.
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Abstract:

"How far back can you trace your family tree? Most people cannot go beyond their great-great-grandparents. The oldest written records recount only our most recent past. The farther back in time we go, the fewer the surviving traces. How can we know about the lives of our ancestors who lived 30,000 - or 300,000 - or 3 million years ago?" "In The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins, Piero and Alberto Angela address the many difficulties and challenges in assembling a truly complete picture of human evolution. In tracing our origins, different "documents" and "evidence" must be used: rock sediments, footprints, and fossils that were petrified in the folds of the earth over the course of millennia but have become the object of scientific study only in recent decades." "To piece together the intriguing puzzle of human origins it is necessary to study all clues that are made available by multidisciplinary research, including paleontology, bio-chemistry, geology, genetics, physics, and climatology. Like so many Sherlock Holmeses, researchers seek all possible clues and analyze them meticulously in hopes of being able to reconstruct the past. Just as a cigarette butt, a hair, or a button may provide the key to identifying the "culprit" in a detective story, so can the layer of a fossil, the way a rock has been chipped, or the detail of a joint offer important information on the life, appearance, and behavior of our ancestors. These pieces are few and fragmentary, ranging from the footprints left in volcanic ash 3.7 million years ago by hominids who walked exactly as we do, to a "Y" pattern on molars and mitochondrial DNA. But they all provide information on the diet, diseases, hunting techniques, and art of Australopithecus, Homo habilis, Homo erectus, the Neanderthal, and the first Homo sapiens sapiens." "Written in an accessible but authoritative style, this study includes many lively reconstructions of the everyday life of our earliest ancestors based on the most reliable data. The Extraordinary Story of Human Origins makes available to a wide audience a unique look inside the exciting world of research into the study of the beginnings of human life on earth."--Jacket.

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