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The Skull in the Rock: How a Scientist, a Boy, and Google Earth Opened a New Window on Human Origins Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 23, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In August 2008, in an area near Johannesburg, South Africa, called the Cradle of Humankind, nine-year-old Matthew Berger summoned his father, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, with the words Dad, I’ve found a fossil. Thus begins the fascinating tale of the discovery of a nearly complete skeleton of an entirely new species of early man. Aronson narrates the story of the gregarious Indiana Jones–like Berger, who grew up in rural Georgia with a penchant for exploring nature and went on to build a career around that passion. Part inspirational biography and part evolutionary science primer, this is written as if the participants are on an exciting treasure hunt, with the acknowledgment that the story continues to evolve and all findings should be shared. Aronson is a master at making almost any topic interesting, understandable, and entertaining, and here he tackles one with intrinsic mass appeal. The vividly designed and wonderfully photographed book includes helpful back matter featuring a unique model of human evolution and a well-organized combined glossary and index. Grades 5-7. --Randall Enos

Review

CCBC's Book of Choice 2013!  

“Adding to a heap of impressive recent books about old bones, The Skull in the Rock provides a dual picture of science being practiced in all its current high-tech glory.”  —The Washington Post

"A fascinating account of an Indiana Jones–style fossil hunter and how his discoveries have changed the way we see human evolution." —Kirkus Reviews

“… a fine pairing of an impassioned personality and scientific achievement.” —School Library Journal

"Slim, enticing and totally accessible, this is a book that will open eyes to the world around us and, perhaps, inspire a whole new generation of “Indies.”" —Bookends, a Booklist Blog

"The co-authors have given this photo- and imagined paintings-filled volume a fun, hands-on flavor by providing a number of series of captioned photos that demonstrate scientific processes utilized in the searching and evaluating of these new fossils." —A Book and a Hug

"The fossils Berger discovered reveal what may be one of humankind’s oldest ancestors. The find has been hailed as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in history." —Niagara Falls Review

"The focus of the book will be on the way in which we can apply new thinking to familiar material and come up with a breakthrough. Marc Aronson is particularly interested in framing these issues for young people and has had enormous success with this approach in his previous books." GSWNY MLK Troop #30294
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (October 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426310102
  • ASIN: B00A17GS12
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 0.4 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #836,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Bernard on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Imagine being a nine-year-old who gets to hunt for fossils in Africa. Most kids would think that would be the coolest thing on the planet. Matthew Berger is the lucky kid who gets to hang out with his dad and scientist Professor Lee Berger. Matthew and his dad were in Johannesburg, South Africa. The area they look for fossils is known as the Cradle of Humankind because important fossils have been found in the past in this area. Matthew discovered a clavicle, a bone that is part of the shoulder. Colorful real life photos demonstrate how small this bone can be and how keen Matthew's eye for finding fossils must be.

Young readers can learn how to look for and detect fossils. The history of Professor Lee's fossil finds along with photographs on site will engage students and teachers. Famous fossils such as the Taung Child, a new genus and species named by Lee, are among the pages with images. Lee uses Google Earth to get a closer look and detects areas of potential observation he may have missed. Young readers will travel along with Professor Lee as he explores and explains all the interesting facts, places and fossils he discovers. Important finds that change the history and what we may think about in terms of evolution are on these pages with proof and stunning photography.

This book is a must have for any home or classroom. If you have trouble getting your boys to read this is a great start and will more than likely peek their curiosity. The back of the book has a plethora of resources to get little fossil hunters wanting to learn more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John S. Mead on October 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a science teacher and a fan of human origins, I was thrilled to have Lee Berger's The Skull in the Rock waiting in its Amazon box for me when I got home from school today. I read its 64 pages in a heartbeat and have to say I am very pleased with the high quality of this work. It is a tremendous challenge to find reading material about human origins that is suitable for middle school readers. This book not only does a fine job of introducing and explaining the main ideas involved in paleoanthropology, it also does a great job of presenting the PROCESS of science in an honest and exciting way for younger readers. I have no doubt that many of the boys and girls who read this will be stimulated to explore a future in science more seriously. I commend Drs Berger and Aronson on producing a rarity in scientific writing, a book that is exciting, inspiring, AND full of serious science. The science teacher in me wishes books such as this were the norm rather than the precious exception. This book is a GEM!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of scientist Lee Berger, and the important discovery he and his son made in 2004 with the finding of a 1.9m year old skeleton (actually more than one). The book introduces the topic of hominid research, human evolution, and how this type of science works--including dating methods relevant for fossils this age--within the context of telling the story of Lee's life: how a childhood outdoors and childhood interests led to his career and hope that he too would one day make a great discovery, his early career and disappointments, and how the discovery of Karabo finally came about. My eleven year old finished this book in a day and quite enjoyed it.
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