Ancestral Passions

Ancestral Passions

The Leakey Family and the Quest for Humankind's Beginnings

Book - 1995
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This is a biography of the first family of anthropology - Louis, Mary and Richard Leakey, whose discoveries have laid the foundations for much of our knowledge about the origins of man.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, c1995.
ISBN: 9780684801926
Characteristics: 638 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill. ;,25 cm.


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Dec 02, 2012

Excellent book, well written, and packed with tales of the interesting shenanigans of the various Leakey family members, their contemporary colleagues, and their diggings. I can't believe the backbiting, politicking and general jealousy among the archeological/anthropological academia. I'm sure other academic disciplines are no different, but what a shame - science can make so much more real progress if the players simply respect each other and work towards getting genuine answers and insights from their research instead of working to upstage and blackball each other 80% of the time.The general sense after reading this book is that no one knows where and when Homo sapiens came to be. There are as many theories as there are players, and all the scientists seem to cling religiously to their specific interpretation as the only "true" one, and every new fossil find is THE origin of the human species. The one thing this book does do wonderfully well is unequivocally put to bed any claims by creationists. Regardless of what fossil was first or what branches of the family tree/bush made it to Homo sapiens and which ones died out, it is clear that evolution is a fact, not a theory. There is no "sudden coming into existence" or creation of Homo sapiens: things evolved slowly, gradually, and steadily over millions of years, one little feature at a time.

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