How to Build a Human: in Seven Evolutionary Steps
“Glints of fun light up a rock-solid dig into our Stone Age ancestry.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Book
The epic story of our evolution in seven steps!
How did we become who we are? With trademark wit, acclaimed science writer Pamela S. Turner breaks down human evolution into the seven most important steps leading to Homo sapiens. How, when, and why did we:
- stand up,
- smash rocks,
- get swelled heads,
- take a hike,
- invent barbecue,
- start talking (and never shut up), and
- become storytellers?
This fascinating, wickedly funny account of our evolutionary journey turns science into an irresistible story. Vetted by experts at the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program, the book also features detailed portraits by celebrated paleo-artist John Gurche that bring our early ancestors to life.
Horn Book starred review
“ ‘Evolution is a journey, not a destination.’ The paths and branches of human evolution, from our primate ancestors to Homo sapiens, are thoroughly covered…Turner is a consummate storyteller: her steady pace through millions of years of the human evolutionary line is buoyed by an amused stance, joke-filled footnotes, well-timed shifts into second person, and modern-day analogies attuned to a middle-grade audience. At the same time, she is meticulous in emphasizing the main underlying concepts of evolutionary science: her terms are precise, her representations of scientific knowledge clearly differentiate between hypothesis and established fact, and she confronts misconceptions head on (see especially a powerful statement about the unscientific construct of race: ‘race is a cultural construct, not a biological reality’).”
Kirkus Reviews starred review
“A probing look into what fossil evidence and other scientific discoveries tell us about our hominid predecessors … [Turner details] seven watershed moments, beginning with ‘Step One: We Stand Up.’ Also covered are: the emergence of toolmaking; the development of larger and more complex brains; the migration of Homo erectus out of Africa; the shift from raw to cooked foods; the evolution of human language; and the advent of storytelling. Using a disarming narrative nonfiction style, the text clearly explains the significance of each anatomical or behavioral change and paints a fascinating picture of life on Earth … glints of fun light up a rock-solid dig into our Stone Age ancestry.”
art by John Gurche
April 12, 2022
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