Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins

Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins

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.

Title:Masters of the Planet: The Search for Our Human Origins
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780230108752
Format Type:

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

  • Steve Van Slyke

    Just before reading this I read Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth by Chris Stringer. I wish I had read this book first because it covers the whole span of human evolution from...

  • Christopher

    I read this book because I'd been told it was a good introduction to the study of human ancestors attested in the archaeological record. The cover of the book claims that it is "the authoritative acco...

  • Jean

    Given another chance at life, I would have chosen to be an anthropologist. So when I saw a new book about the development of humankind, I quickly grabbed it up (on my Nook). It was a great read for an...

  • Todd

    I read this book in preparation for teaching a course on the relationship between human cultures and the non-human environment. We begin the semester with a section on human evolution where I establis...

  • Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    Ian Tattersall's new book, Masters of the Planet, is an eloquently and well-written story of our human origins. While much of the material included in this book was familiar to me, I have to say that ...

  • Elaine

    Masters of the Planet by Ian TattersallIf you’re at all interested in how humans came to be human–and I am–you’re going to love this! Even if you’re not, you probably will. Oh, in the beginn...

  • Rossdavidh

    I have read a couple other books by Ian Tattersall previously, one on Neandertals specifically and one on non-sapien humans generally (if we can take "human" here to mean "anybody from the genus Homo ...

  • Begm Saak

    This book is a scientific account of history of apes and us as a complex species. The book explains why things happened the way they did and the author points the evolutionary changes and their unique...

  • Caleb

    I really enjoyed this thoroughly researched and illuminating exploration of human evolution. It is difficult to stay up to date on all the new fossil finds, and this simple chronological explanation o...

  • Stuart Macalpine

    One of a few books which have recently come out about human evolution as a result of the dawning realization, over the last few decades, that there have been many hominids wandering about Africa durin...