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Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story

Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi

This first-person narrative about an archaeological discovery is rewriting the story of human evolution. A story of defiance and determination by a controversial scientist, this is Lee Berger's own take on finding Homo naledi, an all-new species on the human family tree and one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century.

In 2013, Berger, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, caught wind of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave in South Africa. He put out a call around the world for petite collaborators—men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground. With this team of "underground astronauts," Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known prehominids like Lucy, the famous Australopithecus, with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains. Berger's team had discovered an all new species, and they called it Homo naledi.

The cave quickly proved to be the richest primitive hominid site ever discovered, full of implications that shake the very foundation of how we define what makes us human. Did this species come before, during, or after the emergence of Homo sapiens on our evolutionary tree? How did the cave come to contain nothing but the remains of these individuals? Did they bury their dead? If so, they must have had a level of self-knowledge, including an awareness of death. And yet those are the very characteristics used to define what makes us human. Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us? Berger does not hesitate to address all these questions.

Berger is a charming and controversial figure, and some colleagues question his interpretation of this and other finds. But in these pages, this charismatic and visionary paleontologist counters their arguments and tells his personal story: a rich and readable narrative about science, exploration, and what it means to be human.

About the Author

LEE R. BERGER is the Research Professor in Human Origins and the Public Understanding of Science at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. He was a founder of the Palaeoanthropological Scientific Trust, today the largest nonprofit organization in Africa supporting research into human origins. The director of one of the largest paleontological projects in history, leading over 100 researchers in investigations of the Malapa site in South Africa, Berger is the author of more than 200 scholarly and popular works. His research has been featured three times on the cover of Science and has been named among the top 100 science stories of the year by Time, Scientific American and Discover magazine on numerous occasions. Berger has appeared in many television documentaries on subjects related to archaeology, paleoanthropology, and natural history, and has appeared widely on television and radio, including NPR's Talk of the Nation, Morning Edition, and All Things Considered and PBS's News Hour and Alan Alda's Scientific American Frontiers. Berger was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2015 and 2016's Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

JOHN HAWKS is the Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He is the author of a widely read paleoanthropology blog, johnhawks.net. Hawks graduated from Kansas State University in 1994 with degrees in French, English, and anthropology. He received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. After working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah, he moved to the University of Wisconsin—Madison, where he is currently a member of the anthropology department, teaching courses including human evolution, biological anthropology, and hominid paleoecology.

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: National Geographic; First Edition edition (May 9, 2017)

The Early Human World The Early Human World

The Early Human World The Early Human World

A six-million-year-old jaw bone in Ethiopia proves to be a piece of the earliest hominid discovered-so far. Big Mama, who used a tree branch to escape from a zoo in Holland, is found sipping chocolate milk at a local restaurant. Nandy, a 50,000-year-old skeleton surrounded by flower pollen in Iraq, casts doubt on the beastly reputation of an early hominid. Found frozen in the Alps, Ötzi reveals what people in Europe ate 5,000 years ago. Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, a chimpanzee, a Neandertal, and the Iceman are just some of the characters who make up The Early Human World.

Peter Robertshaw and Jill Rubalcaba tell the story of early human life using an incredible variety of primary sources: 3.5-million-year-old footprints preserved by a volcano provide evidence of our ancestors' walking on two legs. Stone flakes fashioned 2 million years ago prove early hominids used tools. Bears, lions, and rhinoceroses painted in a cave 30,000 years ago reveal our ancestors' artistic side. An 8,500-year-old dog grave shows the extraordinarily long history of man's best friend. This evidence helps archaeologists decipher not just how we came to be the Homo sapiens we are today, but also what life may have been like for our earliest ancestors. The first Australians encountered freakishly gigantic beasts: kangaroos as big as houses and tortoises the size of cars. The Sahara Desert was once a fertile land, supporting herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. The Early Human World takes readers to sites around the world as archaeologists piece together the clues to our past.

About the Author

Peter Robertshaw is an archaeologist and professor of anthropology at California State University, San Bernardino. His research focuses on the later prehistory and precolonial history of sub-Saharan Africa and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Jill Rubalcaba began her working life as a college- and high-school mathematics teacher, all the while continuing to go to school to study more math, writing, and business. Later she worked as an engineer on the Patriot Missile. Ms. Rubalcaba is grateful to her children, Kelly and Dan, for showing her the joys of writing for children. Jill Rubalcaba is the author of several books for young adults, including The Wadjet Eye, Place in the Sun, and The Early Human World.

Series: The World in Ancient Times
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 10, 2005)

Evolution: The Human Story Evolution: The Human Story

Evolution: The Human Story Evolution: The Human Story

How did we develop from simple animals inhabiting small pockets of forest in Africa to the dominant species on Earth? Traveling back almost eight million years to our earliest primate relatives, Evolution: The Human Story charts the development of our species from tree-dwelling primates to modern humans.

Investigating each of our ancestors in detail and in context, from the anatomy of their bones to the environment they lived in, Evolution: The Human Story profiles every human relative and ancestor discovered to date, and illustrates them in lifelike form.

Amazingly realistic CGI and model reconstructions by the renowned Dutch paleoartists, the Kennis brothers, bring us face-to-face and eye-to-eye with some of our distant ancestors, portraying them as never before.

Drawing on cutting-edge research and the latest theories to reveal new and surprising elements, shining a light on previously inaccessible and unimagined detail, Evolution: The Human Story takes on a depth and fascination that is hard to resist.

About the Author

DK was founded in London in 1974 and is now the world's leading illustrated reference publisher and part of Penguin Random House, formed on July 1, 2013. DK publishes highly visual, photographic nonfiction for adults and children. DK produces content for consumers in over 87 countries and in 62 languages, with offices in Delhi, London, Melbourne, Munich, New York, and Toronto. DK's aim is to inform, enrich, and entertain readers of all ages, and everything DK publishes, whether print or digital, embodies the unique DK design approach. DK brings unrivalled clarity to a wide range of topics with a unique combination of words and pictures, put together to spectacular effect. We have a reputation for innovation in design for both print and digital products. Our adult range spans travel, including the award-winning DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, history, science, nature, sport, gardening, cookery, and parenting. DK’s extensive children’s list showcases a fantastic store of information for children, toddlers, and babies. DK covers everything from animals and the human body, to homework help and craft activities, together with an impressive list of licensing titles, including the bestselling LEGO® books. DK acts as the parent company for Alpha Books, publisher of the Idiot's Guides series and Prima Games, video gaming publishers, as well as the award-winning travel publisher, Rough Guides.

Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: DK; unknown edition (August 15, 2011)

The Urantia Book The Urantia Book
The Urantia Book The Urantia Book

Love

Love is truly contagious and eternally creative. (p. 2018) “Devote your life to proving that love is the greatest thing in the world.” (p. 2047) “Love is the ancestor of all spiritual goodness, the essence of the true and the beautiful.” (p. 2047) The Father’s love can become real to mortal man only by passing through that man’s personality as he in turn bestows this love upon his fellows. (p. 1289) The secret of a better civilization is bound up in the Master’s teachings of the brotherhood of man, the good will of love and mutual trust. (p. 2065)

Prayer

Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. (p. 1002) The sincerity of any prayer is the assurance of its being heard. … (p. 1639) God answers man’s prayer by giving him an increased revelation of truth, an enhanced appreciation of beauty, and an augmented concept of goodness. (p. 1002) …Never forget that the sincere prayer of faith is a mighty force for the promotion of personal happiness, individual self-control, social harmony, moral progress, and spiritual attainment. (p. 999)

Suffering

There is a great and glorious purpose in the march of the universes through space. All of your mortal struggling is not in vain. (p. 364) Mortals only learn wisdom by experiencing tribulation. (p. 556)

Angels

The angels of all orders are distinct personalities and are highly individualized. (p. 285) Angels....are fully cognizant of your moral struggles and spiritual difficulties. They love human beings, and only good can result from your efforts to understand and love them. (p. 419)

Our Divine Destiny

If you are a willing learner, if you want to attain spirit levels and reach divine heights, if you sincerely desire to reach the eternal goal, then the divine Spirit will gently and lovingly lead you along the pathway of sonship and spiritual progress. (p. 381) …They who know that God is enthroned in the human heart are destined to become like him—immortal. (p. 1449) God is not only the determiner of destiny; he is man’s eternal destination. (p. 67)

Family

Almost everything of lasting value in civilization has its roots in the family. (p. 765) The family is man’s greatest purely human achievement. ... (p. 939)

Faith

…Faith will expand the mind, ennoble the soul, reinforce the personality, augment the happiness, deepen the spirit perception, and enhance the power to love and be loved. (p. 1766) “Now, mistake not, my Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith.” (p. 1733)

History/Science

The story of man’s ascent from seaweed to the lordship of earthly creation is indeed a romance of biologic struggle and mind survival. (p. 731) 2,500,000,000 years ago… Urantia was a well developed sphere about one tenth its present mass. … (p. 658) 1,000,000,000 years ago is the date of the actual beginning of Urantia [Earth] history. (p. 660) 450,000,000 years ago the transition from vegetable to animal life occurred. (p. 669) From the year A.D. 1934 back to the birth of the first two human beings is just 993,419 years. (p. 707) About five hundred thousand years ago…there were almost one-half billion primitive human beings on earth. … (p. 741) Adam and Eve arrived on Urantia, from the year A.D. 1934, 37,848 years ago. (p. 828)

From the Inside Flap

What’s Inside?

Parts I and II

God, the inhabited universes, life after death, angels and other beings, the war in heaven.

Part III

The history of the world, science and evolution, Adam and Eve, development of civilization, marriage and family, personal spiritual growth.

Part IV

The life and teachings of Jesus including the missing years. AND MUCH MORE…

Excerpts

God, …God is the source and destiny of all that is good and beautiful and true. (p. 1431) If you truly want to find God, that desire is in itself evidence that you have already found him. (p. 1440) When man goes in partnership with God, great things may, and do, happen. (p. 1467)

The Origin of Human Life, The universe is not an accident... (p. 53) The universe of universes is the work of God and the dwelling place of his diverse creatures. (p. 21) The evolutionary planets are the spheres of human origin…Urantia [Earth] is your starting point. … (p. 1225) In God, man lives, moves, and has his being. (p. 22)

The Purpose of Life, There is in the mind of God a plan which embraces every creature of all his vast domains, and this plan is an eternal purpose of boundless opportunity, unlimited progress, and endless life. (p. 365) This new gospel of the kingdom… presents a new and exalted goal of destiny, a supreme life purpose. (p. 1778)

Jesus, The religion of Jesus is the most dynamic influence ever to activate the human race. (p. 1091) What an awakening the world would experience if it could only see Jesus as he really lived on earth and know, firsthand, his life-giving teachings! (p. 2083)

Science, Science, guided by wisdom, may become man’s great social liberator. (p. 909) Mortal man is not an evolutionary accident. There is a precise system, a universal law, which determines the unfolding of the planetary life plan on the spheres of space. (p. 560)

Life after Death, God’s love is universal… He is “not willing that any should perish.” (p. 39) Your short sojourn on Urantia [Earth]…is only a single link, the very first in the long chain that is to stretch across universes and through the eternal ages. (p. 435) …Death is only the beginning of an endless career of adventure, an everlasting life of anticipation, an eternal voyage of discovery. (p. 159)

About the Author

The text of The Urantia Book was provided by one or more anonymous contributors working with a small staff which provided editorial and administrative support during the book's creation. The book bears no particular credentials (from a human viewpoint), relying instead on the power and beauty of the writing itself to persuade the reader of its authenticity.

Leather Bound: 2097 pages
Publisher: Urantia Foundation; Box Lea edition (August 25, 2015)

Processes in Human Evolution: The journey from early hominins to Neanderthals and modern humans Processes in Human Evolution: The journey from early hominins to Neanderthals and modern humans

Processes in Human Evolution: The journey from early hominins to Neanderthals and modern humans Processes in Human Evolution: The journey from early hominins to Neanderthals and modern humans

The discoveries of the last decade have brought about a completely revised understanding of human evolution due to the recent advances in genetics, palaeontology, ecology, archaeology, geography, and climate science. Written by two leading authorities in the fields of physical anthropology and molecular evolution, Processes in Human Evolution presents a reconsidered overview of hominid evolution, synthesising data and approaches from a range of inter-disciplinary fields. The authors pay particular attention to population migrations - since these are crucial in understanding the origin and dispersion of the different genera and species in each continent - and to the emergence of the lithic cultures and their impact on the evolution of cognitive capacities.

Processes in Human Evolution is intended as a primary textbook for university courses on human evolution, and may also be used as supplementary reading in advanced undergraduate and graduate courses. It is also suitable for a more general audience seeking a readable but up-to-date and inclusive treatment of human origins and evolution.

About the Author

Francisco J. Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine,Camilo J. Cela-Conde, Director of the Laboratory of Human Systematics and Professor of Anthropology, University of Balearic Islands

Francisco J. Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. Prof. Ayala is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a recipient of the 2001 National Medal of Science, and served as Chair of the Authoring Committee of Science, Evolution, and Creationism. Dr Ayala has received numerous awards, including the 2010 Templeton Prize for 'exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension' and 23 honorary degrees from universities in ten countries. He has been President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society of the United States. Dr. Ayala has written numerous books and articles about science and religion, including Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion (Joseph Henry Press, 2007), Am I a Monkey? (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), and The Big Questions. Evolution (Quercus, 2012).

Camilo J. Cela-Conde is Senior Professor of the Department of Philosophy, University of Balearic Islands (UIB, Palma de Mallorca, Spain) and Director of the Laboratory of Human Systematics (UIB). He is a member of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Physics and Complex Systems (IFISC), Universidad de las Islas Baleares & Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (Palma de Mallorca and Madrid, Spain), and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science USA (Biology section). He is also a member of the Center for Academic Research and Teaching in Anthropogeny, Salk Institute and University of California, San Diego (USA), elected in March, 2008. He has leadered several expeditions as follows. Kenya; Expedition to Tugen Hills, Baringo Lake District, year 2005, research on early cultural tools. Tanzania; Expedition to Natron Lake, year 2006, research on Hadza hunter-gatherers behavior.

Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 16, 2017)

Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins

Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins (MacSci)

Fifty thousand years ago―merely a blip in evolutionary time―our Homo sapiens ancestors were competing for existence with several other human species, just as their precursors had done for millions of years. Yet something about our species distinguished it from the pack, and ultimately led to its survival while the rest became extinct. Just what was it that allowed Homo sapiens to become masters of the planet? Ian Tattersall, curator emeritus at the American Museum of Natural History, takes us deep into the fossil record to uncover what made humans so special. Surveying a vast field from initial bipedality to language and intelligence, Tattersall argues that Homo sapiens acquired a winning combination of traits that was not the result of long-term evolutionary refinement. Instead, the final result emerged quickly, shocking our world and changing it forever.

About the Author

Ian Tattersall, PhD, is a curator in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where he co-curates the Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. He is the acknowledged leader of the human fossil record, and has won several awards, including the Institute of Human Origins Lifetime Achievement Award. Tattersall has appeared on Charlie Rose and NPR's Science Friday, and has written for Scientific American and Archaeology. He's been widely cited by the media, including The New York Times, BBC, MSNBC, and National Geographic. Tattersall is the author of Becoming Human, among others. He lives in New York City.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 28, 2013)

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction

Early Human Kinship brings together original studies from leading figures in the biological sciences, social anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics to provide a major breakthrough in the debate over human evolution and the nature of society.

  • A major new collaboration between specialists across the range of the human sciences including evolutionary biology and psychology; social/cultural anthropology; archaeology and linguistics
  • Provides a ground-breaking set of original studies offering a new perspective on early human history
  • Debates fundamental questions about early human society: Was there a connection between the beginnings of language and the beginnings of organized 'kinship and marriage'? How far did evolutionary selection favor gender and generation as principles for regulating social relations?
  • Sponsored by the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland in conjunction with the British Academy

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (January 4, 2011)


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Lost Civilization
Under Persian Gulf?

Public release date: December 8, 2010
Kevin Stacey
kstacey@press.uchicago.edu
773-834-0386
University of Chicago Press Journals

Lost civilization under Persian Gulf?


Persian Gulf Basin - Morphology and Bathymery
Persian Gulf Basin - Morphology and Bathymery
Persian Gulf Basin - Morphology and Bathymery

A once fertile landmass now submerged beneath the Persian Gulf may have been home to some of the earliest human populations outside Africa, according to an article published today in Current Anthropology.

Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist and researcher with the University of Birmingham in the U.K., says that the area in and around this "Persian Gulf Oasis" may have been host to humans for over 100,000 years before it was swallowed up by the Indian Ocean around 8,000 years ago. Rose's hypothesis introduces a "new and substantial cast of characters" to the human history of the Near East, and suggests that humans may have established permanent settlements in the region thousands of years before current migration models suppose.

In recent years, archaeologists have turned up evidence of a wave of human settlements along the shores of the Gulf dating to about 7,500 years ago. "Where before there had been but a handful of scattered hunting camps, suddenly, over 60 new archaeological sites appear virtually overnight," Rose said. "These settlements boast well-built, permanent stone houses, long-distance trade networks, elaborately decorated pottery, domesticated animals, and even evidence for one of the oldest boats in the world."

But how could such highly developed settlements pop up so quickly, with no precursor populations to be found in the archaeological record? Rose believes that evidence of those preceding populations is missing because it's under the Gulf.

"Perhaps it is no coincidence that the founding of such remarkably well developed communities along the shoreline corresponds with the flooding of the Persian Gulf basin around 8,000 years ago," Rose said. "These new colonists may have come from the heart of the Gulf, displaced by rising water levels that plunged the once fertile landscape beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean."

Historical sea level data show that, prior to the flood, the Gulf basin would have been above water beginning about 75,000 years ago. And it would have been an ideal refuge from the harsh deserts surrounding it, with fresh water supplied by the Tigris, Euphrates, Karun, and Wadi Baton Rivers, as well as by underground springs. When conditions were at their driest in the surrounding hinterlands, the Gulf Oasis would have been at its largest in terms of exposed land area. At its peak, the exposed basin would have been about the size of Great Britain, Rose says.

Evidence is also emerging that modern humans could have been in the region even before the oasis was above water. Recently discovered archaeological sites in Yemen and Oman have yielded a stone tool style that is distinct from the East African tradition. That raises the possibility that humans were established on the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula beginning as far back as 100,000 years ago or more, Rose says. That is far earlier than the estimates generated by several recent migration models, which place the first successful migration into Arabia between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago.

The Gulf Oasis would have been available to these early migrants, and would have provided "a sanctuary throughout the Ice Ages when much of the region was rendered uninhabitable due to hyperaridity," Rose said. "The presence of human groups in the oasis fundamentally alters our understanding of human emergence and cultural evolution in the ancient Near East."

It also hints that vital pieces of the human evolutionary puzzle may be hidden in the depths of the Persian Gulf.

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Jeffrey I. Rose, "New Light on Human Prehistory in the Arabo-Persian Gulf Oasis"# Current Anthropology 51:6 (December 2010).

Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. The journal is published by The University of Chicago Press and sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.


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Disclaimer

Disclaimer:
Some material presented will contain links, quotes, ideologies, etc., the contents of which should be understood to first, in their whole, reflect the views or opinions of their editors, and second, are used in my personal research as "fair use" sources only, and not espousement one way or the other. Researching for 'truth' leads one all over the place...a piece here, a piece there. As a researcher, I hunt, gather and disassemble resources, trying to put all the pieces into a coherent and logical whole. I encourage you to do the same. And please remember, these pages are only my effort to collect all the pieces I can find and see if they properly fit into the 'reality aggregate'.

Personal Position

Personal Position:
I've come to realize that 'truth' boils down to what we 'believe' the facts we've gathered point to. We only 'know' what we've 'experienced' firsthand. Everything else - what we read, what we watch, what we hear - is what someone else's gathered facts point to and 'they' 'believe' is 'truth', so that 'truth' seems to change in direct proportion to newly gathered facts divided by applied plausibility. Though I believe there is 'truth', until someone celestial who 'knows' all the facts parts the heavens and throws us a scroll titled "Here Are ALL The Facts And Lies In The Order They Happened," I can't know for sure exactly what "the whole truth' on any given subject is, and what applies to me applies to everyone.
~Gail Bird Allen

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