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New York: Basic Books, 2001. 256 pages.
Stanford, a veteran field primatologist, argues "that the gap between apes and humans is very narrow indeed, and the insistence on seeing it as vast and unbridgeable is more a product of fashion and prejudice than of clear thinking." Divided into three sections, dealing with "the forces that drive the societies of great apes and other primates," "contentious questions about the connection of great ape behavior to our understanding of what people do," and "the fate of the apes." The author is professor of anthropology at the University of Southern California and codirector of the Jane Goodall R
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003. 312 pages.
Matt Cartmill writes, "In this clever, entertaining, and thoughtful book, Marks lays out some important limitations of science in general and genetics in particular. Using terms that everybody can understand, he demolishes the pretensions of scientists who try to use genetics to answer questions about the kinship of nations, the rights of animals, the racial identity of Kennewick Man, the hereditary Jewish priesthood, and the existence of God.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. 320 pages.
Nine primatologists — Richard W. Byrne, Robin I. M. Dunbar, William C. McGrew, Anne E. Pusey, Charles T. Snowdon, Craig B. Stanford, Karen B. Strier, and Richard W. Wrangham — consider the implications of primate behavior for understanding human evolution. Topics of the individual essays include reproduction, food and diet, tool use, intelligence, communication and language, and culture. "If you want a source that cogently discusses human intelligence in the context of the behavior of other primates," writes Ian Tattersall, "Tree of Origin is the place to turn."
New York: Riverhead Books, 2006. 288 pages.
In Our Inner Ape, Frans de Waal — a leading primatologist — entertainingly and thoughtfully ponders what we can learn about ourselves from the behavior of our closest relatives: chimpanzees and bonobos. NCSE's Anne D. Holden writes (in RNCSE 2007 Sep–Dec; 27 [5–6]: 45–6), "de Waal's argument that humans exhibit important qualities of both chimpanzees and bonobos is well-developed, organized, and is complemented by excellent examples from his years in close contact with these animals.
Des Moines, IA: National Geographic Society, 2007. 247 pages.
In Deep Ancestry, Spencer Wells, the director of the National Geographic Society's Genographic Project, clearly explains the science behind the project — which is collecting DNA from a wide sample of the world's population in order to understand the evolution of the human genome — and also engagingly relates the stories of five of its volunteers.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002. 320 pages.
From the publisher: "The Seven Daughters of Eve reveals the remarkable story behind a groundbreaking scientific discovery. After being summoned in 1997 to an archaeological site to examine the remains of a five-thousand-year-old man, Bryan Sykes ultimately was able to prove not only that the man was a European but also that he has living relatives in England today.
Boston: Mariner Books, 2003. 304 pages.
From the publisher: "In this sweeping narrative of the past 150,000 years of human history, Steve Olson draws on new understandings in genetics to reveal how the people of the world came to be. ... He shows how groups of people differ and yet are the same, exploding the myth that human races are a biological reality while demonstrating how the accidents of history have resulted in the rich diversity of people today.
Reading, MA: Basic Books, 1996. 320 pages.
The lifework of Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza has been to investigate the history of humanity through its genetic makeup; The Great Human Diasporas, written in collaboration with his filmmaker son and translated from the Italian, distills his prodigious scientific knowledge into a form accessible to the general reader. A central chapter explains how Cavalli-Sforza used archaeological and genetic data to reconstruct the human population movements of the last ten thousand years (especially in Europe).
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. 256 pages.
From the publisher: "This book tells the story of human evolution, the epic of Homo sapiens and its colorful precursors and relatives. The story begins in Africa, six to seven million years ago, and encompasses twenty known human species, of which Homo sapiens is the sole survivor.
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2005. 277 pages.
As Kenneth Kennedy writes, Roger Lewin is "one of the very few scientific journalists I know who has been successful in relating, with accuracy and an exciting writing style, the principles of paleoanthropology to a broad reading audience of scholars and laymen." Unsurprisingly, then, his Human Evolution is a good introduction to its subject. Containing brief but accurate accounts of contemporary research and results, as well as copious references and illustrations, it is eminently useful both as a general source of information and as a supplementary textbook.
Voices for Evolution
The third edition of Voices for Evolution can be purchased or downloaded at Lulu.com