TRACES OF LIFE: The Origins of Humankind by Kathryn Lasky

TRACES OF LIFE: The Origins of Humankind

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A noted science author presents a million years of evolution. Sattler's distinguished Hominids (1988) tells the same story, enhanced by outstanding illustrations. Here, the b&w illustrations are less compelling, but the vivid brief portraits of scientists--along with Lasky's ability to convey information while maintaining a treasure-hunt flavor and a breezy sense of good humor--make this a worthy, readable second point of view. Some teen readers will be pleased to learn that Darwin ""was not a terrific student"" and that when he signed on the Beagle, ""His father had a fit."" Passages that invite readers to imagine life among H. erectus or H. habilis are less successful, and are distinguished from the rest of the text only by type size--which may confuse the browser who doesn't realize that he has stumbled into an imagined past. Powell's illustrations are excellent in showing tools; adequate in comparing skulls, teeth, or pelvic bones; but disappointing in presenting whole body reconstructions. (IF A. Afarensis was distinguished by ""long and curved"" toes, for example, they should be so curved in the illustration.) Notes, bibliography, index.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1990
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Morrow