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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Thinking About Key Science Matters, April 26, 2012
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This review is from: Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (MacSci) (Hardcover)
This book demonstrates that Ian Tattersall is an exceptional scientist well schooled in the art of critical thinking. The points of evidence are sharply and correctly presented. Meanwhile, Tattersall applies a lifetime of logical thinking to sift out fantasies and legends that sometimes blossom in the field of paleoanthropology. He does not "take sides" in controversies, but explains to the reader what is, or may be, right and wrong about what others posit. Tattersall does not allow flights of fancy by others to run too far, but he remains open to speculation and learned conjecture consistent with science and logic.

A reader who wants to learn what the science community knows of the science of paleoanthropolgy at a level that omits pedantic and tedious inside material but remains intellectuallly challenging will find that here. From that, without being romantic in how he writes, Tattersall incites the reader to love what Tattersall himself does about this field.

This is a great read for curious people with a keen interest in what makes us human. Along the way, a reader already acquainted with the field, will enjoy both the pleasure of thinking that Tattersall makes sensible observations and corrections of misguided thinking. Read it all to get the marvelous Coda. One of my favorites there concerns facile generalizations, "[I]t nearly always turns out that these 'universals' are either not uniquely human, or not universal among humans." I also especially like, "[T]here is no need to look for special explanations for altruism when this feature is matched on the other side of the curve by selfishness."

This is good stuff, folks.
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