Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the

Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind A riproaring tale, Fossil Men is one of those rare books that can be a prism through which to view the world, exposing the fabric of the Earth and illuminating the Tree of Life —New York Times bestselling author Peter NicholsA behindthescenes account of the shocking discovery of the skeleton of “Ardi,” a human ancestor far older than Lucya find that shook the world of paleoanthropology and radically altered our understanding of human evolutionIn , a team led by fossilhunting legend Tim White—”the Steve Jobs of paleoanthropology”—uncovered the bones of a human ancestor in Ethiopia’s Afar region Radiometric dating of nearby rocks indicated the skeleton, classified as Ardipithecus ramidus, wasmillion years old, than a million years older than “Lucy,” then the oldest known human ancestor The findings challenged many assumptions about human evolution—how we started walking upright, how we evolved our nimble hands, and, most significantly, whether we were descended from an ancestor that resembled today’s chimpanzee—and repudiated a halfcentury of paleoanthropological orthodoxyFossil Men is the first fulllength exploration of Ardi, the fossil men who found her, and her impact on what we know about the origins of the human species It is a scientific detective story played out in anatomy and the natural history of the human body Kermit Pattison brings into focus a cast of eccentric, obsessive scientists, including one of the world’s greatest fossil hunters, Tim White—an exacting and unforgiving fossil hunter whose virtuoso skills in the field were matched only by his propensity for making enemies; Gen Suwa, a Japanese savant who sometimes didn’t bother going home at night to devote hours to science; Owen Lovejoy, a onetime creationistturnedpaleoanthropologist; Berhane Asfaw, who survived imprisonment and torture to become Ethiopia’s most senior paleoanthropologist and who fought for African scientists to gain equal footing in the study of human origins; and the Leakeys, for decades the most famous family in paleoanthropologyAn intriguing tale of scientific discovery, obsession and rivalry that moves from the sunbaked desert of Africa and a nation caught in a brutal civil war, to modern hightech labs and academic lecture halls, Fossil Men is popular science at its best, and a must read for fans of Jared Diamond, Richard Dawkins, and Edward O Wilson


11 thoughts on “Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind

  1. says:

    Thanks to the publisher for the advanced reading copy.

    Fascinating look at paleo anthropology and the men, yes, in this case they are all men, who found Ardi, a skeleton a million years older than Lucy.

    I have to admit I was way more interested in the fossils and science than in the people stories behind the discoverers but this is still a very


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