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Lucy's Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins Paperback – June 1, 2010
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But his writing can be kind of stiff. If you want a sense of where the field of human evolution is today, much of the same ground is more vividly and completely told in "The First Human" by Ann Gibbon, which I recommend highly . If you are looking specifically for the story of "Lucy" and Johanson's work since, then "Lucy's Legacy" is for you.
The strength of the book is in its moderate use of technical terms and attention to telling as complete of a story as possible in this rapidly changing field. After reading the book, one has a basic understanding of paleoanthropology from initial field research through the laboratory to the conference podium. Likewise, the discussion on hominid evolution goes to lengths to introduce a multitude of theories for the reader to consider (although the author is quick to point out which theories he disagrees with and why).
Unfortunately, the book suffers from several areas of vague writing. The first section of the text, an autobiographical account of the discovery of Lucy, wanders throughout the author's career with little structured direction. While it sets up the further sections of the book, it could do so in either shorter length or with more structured detail. Throughout the text, the author references field research methods and terminology with little explanation of what the practices are or why they are important.Read more ›
He begins this 2009 book with a recounting of his team's most famous hominid discoveries: "Lucy" ("It was a special moment for all of us, though I don't think any of us truly realized how special at the time"; pg. 7) and the "First Family" ("Had I turned down Mike's request to join our expedition, the well-concealed teeth might not have been found"; pg. 18). He mentions his relations with Richard Leakey: "Friendly rivalry is at times a good things because it motivates us all to work a little harder, a little longer, and take chances we otherwise might not take"; pg. 15). He also describes himself as "a lifelong atheist." (Pg. 61).
Along the way, he explains some of his general principles, such as, "it's vital to be open to explanations that you never considered before. Often the theories that take you most by surprise turn out to be correct." (Pg. 97). He explains, "I am not a 'lumper' or a 'splitter' in any traditional sense." (Pg. 103) He states that A. afarensis (i.e.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is an amazing journey through time! From where we came from to where we are and how we evolved to be as diverse as we are. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dorsey L.
Lucy in the Sky...I was expecting Indiana Jones and I got Charles Darwin. I was expecting drama and I got a documentary. Read morePublished 19 months ago by JBB1
Excellent book. Johanson is the foremost popularizer of books on paleoanthpolology. I look forward to more books from this author.Published 23 months ago by Syed
Very good read on the discovery of Lucy and other finds as well as where they all fit in the evolutionary family tree.Published on July 4, 2013 by Raptor
Lucy' Legacy brings back all the exitement and wonder that I felt when she was discovered. Lucy started it all for me, she opened a whole new world to me and I have watched with... Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by shumack
I am an vid reaed on human evolution and a dye hard evolutionist! This book has been fun to read as well as very informsative on aspects of the human fossil record, its finding,... Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by Otavio H. Thiemann
This book came quickly and It is a pleasure to be able to read it. It continues the writings about how science thinks we began. This is a very interesting read. Read morePublished on September 15, 2011 by Susan Korte
I thought this was a good read. It gives you a picture of the behind the scenes work it takes to recover and analyze fossils. Read morePublished on August 27, 2011 by S. Stanicki