Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Early human evolution is an interesting subject to many of us who are curious about where we came from and how we got to be the only species left on the planet. I recently read Ian Tattersall's Masters of the Planet , a tour de force on the latest paleontological information on the subject. Tattersall's books have, in the past, been well written, opinionated, and extremely interesting, and I have read his ongoing works with relish. Masters of the Planet is an updating of a more introductory book on the same subject that Tattersall and Jefferey Schwartz wrote in 2001 called Extinct Humans, a lavishly illustrated book. I can put up with opinionated writing when he's been proven right over and over!

Having just completed Tattersall's book, I took up Chip Walter's Last Ape Standing, a new (2013) book on the same subject just to see what else had been discovered. However, Walter's book was written for a more basic audience who is completely unfamiliar with human evolution, and was very poorly written for someone with more than a basic knowledge of the subject. I found after a couple of chapters that I was simply tired of the book, and deleted it from my Kindle. I can always go back and try again with a greater break from Tattersall's books, but I suspect that my reaction to Last Ape Standing will likely remain the same.

I like good science writing on many subjects, and have been fascinated by geology and paleontology for many years. If you want to learn more about the subject, try Extinct Humans as a good starting point, by my recommendation.

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