“Lucy is a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton who has become the spokeswoman for human evolution. She is perhaps the best known and most studied fossil hominid of the twentieth century, the benchmark by which other discoveries of human ancestors are judged.” – From Lucy’s Legacy
In his New York Times bestseller, Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, renowned paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson told the incredible story of his discovery of a partial female skeleton that revolutionized the study of human origins. Lucy literally changed our understanding of our world and who we come from. Since that dramatic find in 1974, there has been heated debate and–most important–more groundbreaking discoveries that have further transformed our understanding of when and how humans evolved.
In Lucy’s Legacy , Johanson takes readers on a fascinating tour of the last three decades of study–the most exciting period of paleoanthropologic investigation thus far. In that time, Johanson and his colleagues have uncovered a total of 363 specimens of Australopithecus afarensis (Lucy’s species, a transitional creature between apes and humans), spanning 400,000 years. As a result, we now have a unique fossil record of one branch of our family tree–that family being humanity–a tree that is believed to date back a staggering 7 million years.
Focusing on dramatic new fossil finds and breakthrough advances in DNA research, Johanson provides the latest answers that post-Lucy paleoanthropologists are finding to questions such as: How did Homo sapiens evolve? When and where did our species originate? What separates hominids from the apes? What was the nature of Neandertal and modern human encounters? What mysteries about human evolution remain to be solved?
Donald Johanson is a passionate guide on an extraordinary journey from the ancient landscape of Hadar, Ethiopia–where Lucy was unearthed and where many other exciting fossil discoveries have since been made–to a seaside cave in South Africa that once sheltered early members of our own species, and many other significant sites. Thirty-five years after Lucy, Johanson continues to enthusiastically probe the origins of our species and what it means to be human.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Computers eBook: Lucy's Legacy|
|Release Date: 03-03-2009|
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|Publisher: Crown Publishing Group|
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The Woman Who Shook Up
Man's Family Tree
Never in my wildest fantasies did I imagine that I would discover a fossil as earthshaking as Lucy. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of traveling to Africa and finding a "missing link." Lucy is that and more: a 3.2-million-year-old skeleton who has become the spokeswoman for human evolution. She is perhaps the best known and most studied fossil hominid of the twentieth century, the benchmark by which other discoveries of human ancestors are judged.
Whenever I tell the story, I am instantly transported back to the thrilling moment when I first saw her thirty-four years ago on the sandy slopes of Hadar in Ethiopia's Afar region. I can feel the searing, noonday sun beating down on my shoulders, the beads of sweat on my forehead, the dryness of my mouth--and then the shock of seeing a small fragment of bone lying inconspicuously on the ground. Most dedicated fossil hunters spend the majority of their lives in the field without finding anything remarkable, and there I was, a thirty-one-year-old newly minted Ph.D., staring at my childhood dream at my feet.
Sunday, November 24, 1974, began, as it usually does for me in the field, at dawn. I had slept well in my tent, with the glittering stars visible through the small screen that kept out the mosquitoes, and as sunrise announced a brilliant new day, I got up and went to the dining tent for a cup of thick, black Ethiopian coffee. Listening to the morning sounds of camp life, I planned with some disinclination the day's activities: catching up on correspondence, fossil cataloging, and a million other tasks that had been set aside to accommodate a visit from anthropologists Richard an...