Product Description A reassessment of human prehistory recounts the fossil hunting that led to the landmark discoveries at Lake Turkana and employs ideas from philosophy, anthropology, molecular biology, and linguistics to explore how humans acquired consciousness. 50,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour. From Publishers Weekly Famed paleoanthropologist Leakey begins this first-person odyssey with an informal account of his 1984 discovery in East Africa of the "Turkana boy," a 1.5-million-year-old Homo erectus skeleton. Teamed with science writer Lewin (with whom he wrote Origins and People of the Lake ), Leakey controversially portrays this forerunner of Homo sapiens as a meat-eating omnivore who operated from a home base and was already to some degree human in behavior. Full of tantalizing insights into human origins, this exciting inquiry suggests that morality, consciousness and emotions developed over a much longer period of our history than many scientists assume. Modern humans' language abilities are firmly rooted in the cognitive abilities of ape brains, Leakey asserts. Skeptical of the multiregional model, which holds that the first humans arose simultaneoulsy in Asia, Africa and Europe, Leakey leans toward the "Noah's Ark hypothesis," which asserts that Homo sapiens originated in a single, localized evolutionary event. In conclusion, he eloquently warns that our unruly species may be short-term tenants on earth unless we become the planet's stewards.Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. From School Library Journal YA-- Leakey and Lewin discuss how conceptions of human anatomical and behavioral development have been radically altered within the last 12 years by new discoveries and research in other fields. They review the developments and assert Leakey's own hypotheses based on these discoveries. Although supporting a specific view of human evolution, they also illuminate other theories and their proponents, if mainly to argue against them. This is an engrossing book written for the layperson, fully explaining anthropological terms and theories when necessary. It's a solid introduction to current theory concerning human development.- Hugh McAloon, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Frederick, Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. From Library Journal Twenty years after the death of his famous father Louis, the author is struggling to keep the Leakey name at the forefront of the highly contentious field of paleoanthropology. Possibly because his current position as director of the Kenya Wildlife Service occupies most of his attention, his latest effort seems halfhearted. The book offers few original contributions to the understanding of how and why humans evolved. Leakey follows an all-too-common habit among paleoanthropologists of touting his own fossil finds--in this case, a homo erectus skeleton known as the Turkana Boy--as representing the most crucial step in the evolution of our species. As a result, only a sketchy outline of the current thought on human evolution is covered. For a far more satisfying and complete popular account of the current state of paleoanthropology, try coauthor Lewin's Bones of Contention ( LJ 10/1/87). Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/92.- Eric Hinsdale, Trinity Univ. Lib., San AntonioCopyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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