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The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE
In this lively and readable introduction, renowned anthropologist Ian Tattersall thoroughly examines both the fossil and archeological records to trace human evolution from the earliest beginnings of our zoological family Hominidae, through the emergence 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 trait that most strongly distinguishes humans from other primates--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 in the Fertile Crescent and elsewhere. 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, from early intimations of symbolism in Africa to our earliest known artistic expressions--the exquisite Cro-Magnon cave paintings and 30,000 year--old flutes made from vulture bones-to 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 admired,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.
160 pages; ISBN 9780199799008
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