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Our Inner Ape

by Frans de Waal
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.

Deep Ancestry: Inside the Genographic Project

by Spencer Wells
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.

The Seven Daughters of Eve

by Brian Sykes
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.

Mapping Human History

by Steve Olson
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.

The Great Human Diasporas

by Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza and Francesco Cavalli-Sforza
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).

The Last Human

by G. J. Sawyer and Istvan Deak
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.

Human Evolution: An Illustrated Introduction, fifth edition

by Roger Lewin
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.

The Human Career, second edition

by Richard G. Klein
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. 810 pages.

Simply the single best reference and advanced introduction to paleoanthropology — the subject of human biological and cultural evolution, the area where physical anthropology and prehistoric archeology overlap. Writing in Evolution, Henry McHenry describes it as "by far the best book of its kind"; writing in Antiquity, R. A.

From Lucy to Language, revised edition

by Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar
New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. 288 pages.

Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar discuss human prehistory — from the appearance of bipedal walking to the origin of language — in a volume lavishly illustrated with original (and often life-size) photographs of fossils and artifacts. The first part of the book concentrates on the interpretation of the paleoanthropological evidence, considering such topics as migration, diversity, anatomy, society, bipedalism, tools, customs, and "imponderables" (such as clothing and the problem of consciousness).


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