Evolution: The Human Story
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2012
This is a stunningly beautiful book on the evolution of man. If it was possible, I would have given it 10 stars instead of 5. A 10" x 12" coffee table book of 256 pages, it is lavished with literally hundreds of full color photographs, maps, charts and depictions on every single page. Many are full page. The story begins with a broad history of evolution dating back some 200 million years, then advances to the earliest human fossils called hominins. Nearly 20 species are, in detail, described. Then methods are described how hominins are reconstructed, using forensic techniques, from mere bits of scattered bone to creatures with flesh and hair on them. Full page photographs are sooooo life like, you can almost smell their bad breath. The book goes on to show the routes of probable migration and the arrival of modern man. Some of the earliest sites of advanced culture are splendidly depicted, like the newly discovered site, Gobekli Tepe and various other stone megalithic sites in europe. This book will keep you spell bound for hours. I can't imagine anyone even remotely interested in human evolution not to be impressed with this volume. It could alone, inspire many young students to become paleoanthropologists. DK books are reknown for their wonderful photographs and representations, but in this volume, they have outdone themselves. And for $16, it's an absolute steal.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
Yes, a nice addition to an existing collection of anthropology/ biology/ evo content, but should be an addition only. The book simply is not detailed enough to live up to the title; however, if one already has an understanding of evolution, then this book makes a great coffee table piece for talking points. The illustrations are very large and glossy with the feel of a photo-book, making up somewhat for the sparse content. Again, this book won't explain the concepts of evo all that well but is a nice piece if preaching to the choir. For an in-depth look at the details of evo I would recommend: Prothero - "What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters," OR Coyne, "Why Evolution is True." For a different overview also try Zimmer's,"Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins." (the pictures are not as large but the info is robust)

Cheers.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2011
This book is considered to be one of the best books I have ever seen that visually tells the story of our human past. Yes it might have some scientific features like the Family Tree Map that is missing from this book but in a broader sense it is meant to tell the entire story of our own human past. This is by far an exquisite work in terms of research that really comes out of the brain of Dr. Alice Roberts, who is a professional anthropologist who appeared on the BBC show The Incredible Human Journey. She is also the author of DK's The Complete Human Body which is one of the DK books that I really enjoy reading from. This book does lack the evolutionary history of all other species yes but this book is meant solely for telling our human past.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
I haven't purchased this book yet but I did spend a long time in a book store going through it and felt compelled to leave a positive review after I read the 1-star review someone else left which I think is very off the mark and does not do the book justice. I'm an archaeologist and I have an MA in Anthropology/Archaeology. I'm especially interested in Neanderthals when it comes to human evolution and other hominids/hominins. I thought the sculpted facial reconstructions that are used throughout the book to give an actual face to the fossils are a great visual aid and I think you can very clearly see a progression of facial features as you progress through the book. There is some artistic license, of course.

The book is lighter on text but I think the visuals make it very accessible for anyone that is interested in the topic. I'm educated pn the subject and I very much enjoyed the book.

If you like archaeology, prehistory, anthropology, human evolution, or general science books you will enjoy this. If you want a book that meticulously details the mechanisms of evolution this might not be your best choice. It is very image/photo heavy but there is a lot one could learn from this book. This book would be perfect for laypersons and teens.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Evolution: The Human Story highlights lifelike fossil-hominoid head reconstructions while also featuring many images of living and fossil primates. Pages 30-31 show in photographs the thirteen steps in the reconstruction process used by Dutch paleoartists Adrie and Alfons Kennis that involves layers of plastic clay, silicone rubber, mold-painting-casting, glass eyeballs, and hair insertions. Page 44 features the skulls of the giant monkeys Caipora (44 pounds) and Protopithecus (55 pounds) of Brazil, both of which were probably hunted to extinction by humans. Pages 52-53 feature the skulls, pelvises, and skeletons of the orangutan, the gorilla, the chimpanzee, and the modern human. Pages 58-59 feature side views of the head reconstructions of Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, Homo ergaster, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo sapiens that show the evolutionary progression of increasing cranial size and decreasing jaws projection. Pages 66-67 show the lifelike head reconstruction of Sahelanthropus tchadensis that features orange-and-yellow hair, charcoal-gray facial skin and ears, and a faintly-human expression-appearance. Pages 90-91 show the lifelike head reconstruction of Australopithecus africanus for the Taung child, which is viewed as having died at 2-3 years old and which lacks the jaws projection of the adult form. Pages 172-173 feature side and back views of the head reconstructions of Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Australopithecus afarensis, Australopithecus africanus, Homo habilis, Homo georgicus, Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo antecessor, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo floresiensis, and Homo sapiens.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2012
I bought this book for my 11 year old daughter and both she and I are spellbound by this book. The 3D models casted from bones and fossils really bring to life what our ancient anestors would have looked like. Best purchase in ages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2013
This is an excellent presentation of human evolution, starting with lower primates and ending with homo sapiens. It reads like a coffee table books with lots of pictures and understandable explanations. Although technical in places, discussing bones, genes, and archeology, it is written for a layman and is very enlightening. One feature I found especially important in my understanding of this issue were the timelines used. It drove in the fact that many of the homo genus (as well as some earlier man-like genuses) existed for quite some time side by side with each other. The last part of the book focused on early homo sapiens, their migrations, and their growth from hunter-gather to farmers and eventually to cities.

I think the best part of the book for me was that it put all the research together and ordered it chronologically, so the reader could see the actual development over time. It put everything in perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in human evolution.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2012
This book is great for a general overview of evolution, with big graphic timelines and clear explanations. It's best for browsing, digging into a chapter at a time, or focusing on a particular section.

It's not a book to read cover to cover since it does not have a straight narrative. Think of it, sort of, like an encyclopedia on human evolution that is very heavy on pictures/graphics, and lighter on text. Our son (5) loves it, either scanning on his own, or sitting down with us for a deeper explanation of content.

High rating is based on quality of graphics, clarity of explanation, and excellent value.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2011
This glossy volume is a great introduction to the field of Evolution. It's full of specific details and amazing graphics. Entertaining and engrossing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2014
It puts evolution in an understandable time line. If I can't remember a time line while I'm reading another book on this subject, I use this a a reference.
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