The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE

Front Cover
To be human is to be curious. And one of the things we are most curious about is how we came to be who we are--how we evolved over millions of years to become creatures capable of inquiring into our own evolution.In this lively and readable introduction, renowned anthropologist Ian Tattersall thoroughly examines both fossil and archaeological records to trace human evolution from the earliest beginnings of our zoological family, Hominidae, through the appearance of Homo sapiens to the Agricultural Revolution. He begins with an accessible overview of evolutionary theory and then explores the major turning points in human evolution: the emergence of the genus Homo, the advantages of bipedalism, the birth of the big brain and symbolic thinking, Paleolithic and Neolithic tool making, and finally the enormously consequential shift from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies 10,000 years ago. Focusing particularly on the pattern of events and innovations in human biological and cultural evolution, Tattersall offers illuminating commentary on a wide range of topics, including the earliest known artistic expressions, ancient burial rites, the beginnings of language, the likely causes of Neanderthal extinction, the relationship between agriculture and Christianity, and the still unsolved mysteries of human consciousness.Complemented by a wealth of illustrations and written with the grace and accessibility for which Tattersall is widely admire, The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE invites us to take a closer look at the strange and distant beings who, over the course of millions of years, would become us.
 

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User Review  - AnnieMod - LibraryThing

The last book I read about pre-human and early humans history was my history textbook back in the mid-nineties when we were going chronologically through the history of the world in a few subsequent ... Read full review

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Contents

CHAPTER 1 Evolutionary Processes
1
CHAPTER 2 Fossils and Ancient Artifacts
19
CHAPTER 3 On Their Own Two Feet
37
CHAPTER 4 Emergence of the Genus Homo
55
CHAPTER 5 Getting Brainier
71
CHAPTER 6 Modern Human Origins
89
CHAPTER 7 Settled Life
109
Chronology
125
Further Reading
127
Websites
131
Acknowledgments
133
Index
135
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About the author (2008)


Ian Tattersall is curator at the Anthropology Department of the American Museum of Natural History and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University & CUNY Graduate School

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