Masters of the Planet by Ian Tattersall
The Search for Our Human Origins (Macsci)

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Synopsis

50,000 years ago – merely a blip in evolutionary time – our Homo sapiens ancestors were competing for existence with several other human species, just as their own precursors had been doing for millions of years. Yet something about our species separated it from the pack, and led to its survival while the rest became extinct.  So just what was it that allowed Homo sapiens to become Masters of the Planet?   Curator Emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, Ian Tattersall takes us deep into the fossil record to uncover what made humans so special.  Surveying a vast field from initial bipedality to language and intelligence, Tattersall argues that Homo sapiens acquired a winning combination of traits that was not the result of long term evolutionary refinement. Instead it emerged quickly, shocking their world and changing it forever.

 

About Ian Tattersall

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Ian Tattersall, PhD is a curator in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where he co-curates the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. He is the acknowledged leader of the human fossil record, and has won several awards, including the Institute of Human Origins Lifetime Achievement Award. Tattersall has appeared on Charlie Roseand NPR's Science Friday and has written for Scientific American and Archaeology. He's been widely cited by the media, including The New York Times, BBC, MSNBC, and National Geographic. Tattersall is the author of Becoming Human, among others. He lives in New York City.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan Trade. 289 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Political & Social Sciences, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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The Wall Street Journal

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While Mr. Tattersall does not identify explicit reasons why Neanderthals perished and we survived (albeit with a little Neanderthal DNA preserved in our genome thanks to some ancient trysts), the implication is that we are a superior species.

Mar 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Masters of the Planet: The Se...

Dallas News

Homo sapiens, remarkably young at 200,000 years, did not seem a great improvement until about 60,000 years ago, when their brains began processing information symbolically, leading to language, art, technology and sophisticated social organization, all of which accompanied our species across the ...

Apr 06 2012 | Read Full Review of Masters of the Planet: The Se...

Washington Independent Review of Books

The author, Ian Tattersall, is curator emeritus of Biological Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History and has visited the human phylogenetic story before, with books on the history of discovery of the hominin fossil record, extinction of our close cousins the Neanderthals, and on t...

Jun 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Masters of the Planet: The Se...

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