Covers a ton of prominent homind specimens with detailed black and white illustrations (drawings not photos) that accent the morphological features of each specimen. Includes detailed descriptions of the specimens and also a nice description at the beginning of each section. As a bonus also includes a section with non-hominid primate specimens. This book is great for anthropology students needing a quick reference to numerous specimens. It also contains numerous references to the literature about each specimen so makes a great starting point for research.
Okay, Australopithecus afarensis. I've heard of Lucy; I know she was found at Hadar in Ethiopia, but what is her accession number? How much of her was actually recovered? Good thing I have my copy of Larsen et al. "Human Origins: The Fossil Record" on hand. Superbly illustrated with line drawings and maps of the different fossil localities, this encyclopedic text traces human evolution from the Dawn Apes through modern Homo sapiens in the best way possible-- with the fossils. Each specimen is well drawn, most in multiple views, so that the student or amateur who can't make it to Addis Adaba to see the real thing can have a chance to compare fossil homonids from around the world. In addition, for comparative purposes, the authors have also supplied illustrations of the modern great apes. A fun and informative text either for study or just as an escape into our origins. I must emphasize, however, that the emphasis of this book is on illustrations for pictorial comparisons, not on descriptions. The text concerning each fossil, therefore, is fairly short.
This book is an excellent source for students and teachers of human evolution. It is the first compilation that I have seen that puts drawings of all the major fossil finds together in one place. It is very helpful as a supplementary text in an intro human origins class since most books lack adequate pictures of the major fossil players.
When you read this book you will realize why there is so much controversy about Human origins. The fossil record is so sparse, it makes you wonder how scientists have been able to deduce as much as they already have. This book was probably written as a reference for college level courses in paleoanthroplogy, but it is also a good reference for armchair amateurs such as myself. Concise, well written and superbly illustrated, the book is an invaluable resource.