Buy “Almost Human The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story Lee Berger, John Hawks 9781426218118 Books” Online
I guess it’s a bit more like 4. 5 for me but why quibble. The only thing in this book I didn’t appreciate was the cliffhanger at the end. 🙂 The fact that it’s possible to have a cliffhanger like that in a what is, essentially, a science book, is something I’m very grateful about. This discipline has been stagnant for way too long. In all seriousness, though, I wish it was longer, with a bit more details on the expedition and the people who participated in it. It’s not all about the fossils, at least it isn’t for me. I’d love to have more backstory. Check it out!
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.
Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story Hardcover – May 9, 2017 by Lee Berger (Author), Review
I’ve had an interest in human evolution and paleo anthropology since I was a kid, so from time to time, I try to keep up with current discoveries and academic trends. Almost Human served me well on several levels. First, it is an inside look at the intricacies and politics of presenting new material in a still somewhat staid environment. Lee Berger investigates making use of emerging technologies and sharing his intriguing discoveries with a greater number of scientists and interested parties than is the recognized method. In some cases he is criticized and in others, he finds ways to succeed. This is the story of collaboration that works. It’s also a well-paced page turner revealing the tale of finding a truly game-changing trove of Hominid fossils in a completely overlooked, well-known location that the prevailing leaders in the field believed to be exhausted. The authors writing is engaging and personal. What might have been a dry academic paper instead, has enough anecdotal humanity that I felt I was brought right onto the sites alongside the hard-working scientists, cavers and organizers. Finally, it is a detailed look at the nuts and bolts of documenting and retrieving irreplaceable fossil evidence of the wide diversity in the emergence of modern human kind. Even the African Cradle of Humanity, is proving to be much broader than previously imagined. The International Naledi Team should be proud of how their hard work has increased the scope of our understanding of the oldest ancestors. It was a really enjoyable read that I recommend highly to any students of paleo anthropology wanting a feel for what it’s like on a dig, or for anyone academic or not, who is interested in the complex briar patch our family tree is finally being revealed to be. -Read Reviews-
The book is surprisingly well written and entertaining. The book is a little bit too heavy on "I" as author starts telling the story of the Homo Naledi starting with his own childhood, all his school activities and odd jobs, etc. Then he goes on about his early career, and previous finds. Mind you, it is all interesting to read – he does know how to write! The title story actually starts after you read half of the book. So, there is the juice, and it is all in very much detail on how the site was first spotted, how he planned the excavation, how he searched and hired people, and found funding. And then, of course, the fossils themselves. My review copy did not have any photos, so I am not sure if there are any included in the actual book, but there were just a few of sketches that gave at least some idea of what was all the excitement about. I liked how the fossils were described, and how they were different from what was found before. There was quite a lengthy discussion on how they came up with which genus to place the fossils, describing which parts were more primitive, and which were more human-like. Those parts of the book were especially interesting to read, of course. Throughout the book author described how he, unlike many other scientists, thinks that sharing is very important to advancing science. He describes how he made casts of fossils he found on his previous expeditions and how he shared those with museums and academic institutions. How he invited young scientists to work with him, and made sure they are getting their credit for the work they done. He ended up publishing his work in an open source magazine, and made fossil scans available so anyone can 3D print them. At the end of the book I encountered a surprise – the last chapter omitted from review copy. It looks like he is going to describe the age of the fossils there, since they were hard to date. I am planning to track the last chapter later and see for myself.
Tags: Almost Human: The Astonishing Tale of Homo naledi and the Discovery That Changed Our Human Story, Anthropology, Anthropology - Physical, Archaeology, Archaeology (Specific Aspects), Archaeology by period, Early man, Expeditions & Discoveries, Fossils, History, History : Expeditions & Discoveries, Homo naledi, Human beings - Evolution, Human beings - Origin, Human Evolution, Human remains (Archaeology) - South Africa - Witwatersrand Region, John Hawks, Lee Berger, National Geographic, Nature, Paleontology, Physical, Prehistoric archaeology, Prehistory, Region, Republic of South Africa, Science, SCIENCE - Paleontology, Social Science, SOCIAL SCIENCE - Anthropology - Physical, Sociology