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FROM LUCY TO LANGUAGE by Donald Johanson


by Donald Johanson & Blake Edgar

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-684-81023-9
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

 In one profusely illustrated volume, noted paleontologist Johanson (who discovered our earliest known ancestor, Lucy, as he recounted in his 1981 volume of that name) reviews all that is known about the origins and development of Homo sapiens. In numbered sections, he covers the fossil record, the evolution of the human body, and specifics on how paleontologists go about their work. Some thornier issues are also touched on, such as whether humans can really be divided into races and when language originated--a matter mostly of speculation, though Johanson cites some physical evidence indicating that Neanderthals may have been capable of speech. It is the photographs that promise to be the most exciting part of this book (though not seen in full color by Kirkus): stark, striking images of fossils, from skulls and jawbones to vertebrae and femurs and pelvic bones, from Australopithecus to Neanderthal to Homo sapiens dating back tens of thousand of years.