The Last Human
A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans
Created by G. J. Sawyer and Viktor Deak; Text by Esteban Sarmiento, G.J. Sawyer, and Richard Milner; With Contributions by Donald C. Johanson, Meave Leakey, and Ian Tattersall
June 28, 2007
256 pages, 8 x 10 1/2
63 color, 8 b/w, 21 maps
The Last Human presents a comprehensive account of each species with information on its emergence, chronology, geographic range, classification, physiology, lifestyle, habitat, environment, cultural achievements, co-existing species, and possible reasons for extinction. Also included are summaries of fossil discoveries, controversies, and publications. What emerges from the fossil story is a new understanding of Homo sapiens. No longer credible is the notion that our species is the end product of a single lineage, improved over generations by natural selection. Rather, the fossil record shows, we are a species with widely varied precursors, and our family tree is characterized by many branchings and repeated extinctions.
Photographs of most of the reconstructions that appear in this book will be featured in exhibits appearing in the new Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The opening of the Hall is planned for November 2006.
"This book vividly brings to life twenty extinct species of our ancestors, branches of a diverse human family tree. It shows the sequence of development of a combination of crucial adaptations that make us, the last surviving human, the unique species that we are today."—from the Afterword by Meave Leakey
"This book features a colorful cast of characters . . .that have participated in the ongoing drama of human evolution. . . . In both word and image, it presents a series of intimate and unprecedented portraits of our extinct relatives. . . . This is, indeed, the guidebook to the human past, and the one that comes closest to being a personal time machine."—from the Introduction
“[A] marvelous new book on our ancestors. . . . From paleontological and anthropological data previously available only in scientific publications, the authors have created an accessible field guide to our extinct cousins. Beginning each section with a short slice-of-life story about the species in question brings that hominid to life, with the supportive scientific evidence following. . . . Striking illustrations accompany the write-ups and breathe life into dry fossil bones. . . . This very current book explains the science as it now stands and is a must buy for all libraries.”—Booklist