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Seven Skeletons
Seven Skeletons: The Evolution of the World's Most Famous Human Fossils | Lydia V. Pyne
6 posts | 4 read | 1 reading | 6 to read
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. While most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, there are a few that have become world-renowned celebrity personas--ambassadors of science that speak to public audiences. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven such famous fossils of our ancestors have the social cachet they enjoy today. Drawing from archives, museums, and interviews, Pyne builds a cultural history for each celebrity fossil--from its discovery to its afterlife in museum exhibits to its legacy in popular culture. These seven include the three-foot tall "hobbit" from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus Sediba, and Lucy--each embraced and celebrated by generations, and vivid examples of how discoveries of how our ancestors have been received, remembered, and immortalized. Today, you can even follow the Sediba fossil, from a species two million years old, on Twitter. With wit and insight, Pyne brings to life each fossil, and how it is described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. This fascinating, endlessly entertaining book puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context, a reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astounding ways, our present culture and imagination.
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Heather_Reads
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Pickpick

If you have an interest in the history of humanity you can't go past this book. It'll help fill in gaps, lay solid groundwork for further reading, and maybe get you interested in fossils. I found it fairly easy to read (despite not being a science minded person) and I learned a lot about a topic I've had a small interest in for a while. I had some issues with the writing (repetitiveness in particular), but it was still super interesting.

Marchpane Rad photo! 💀 And the book sounds fascinating. Have you read Sapiens? It's about the history of modern humans & is more cultural anthropology rather than palaeontology. 3y
Heather_Reads @Marchpane I haven't heard of that book but it sounds amazing. I definitely want to read more in that general area so I'll be adding this to my TBR for sure. Thanks for recommending 😊 3y
Marchpane @Heather_Reads no worries! I've added Seven Skeletons to mine 😊 3y
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PirateJenny
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Pickpick

Nothing like human fossils to make me happy.

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Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #1
I LOVE reading about ancient human fossils. I'm glad I read this, but some the writing was awkward. The focus on what makes a fossil famous seemed overwrought.
The best parts were when the author talked about how fossils get new life when discovered, and how they connect us back, millions of years ago. Also, the chapter on Lucy: she's right - I saw Lucy when she toured, and it was a moment of reverence. Took my breath away.

review
Sweettartlaura
Mehso-so

#bookisholympics #1
I LOVE reading about ancient human fossils. I'm glad I read this, but some the writing was awkward. The focus on what makes a fossil famous seemed overwrought.
The best parts were when the author talked about how fossils get new life when discovered, and how they connect us back, millions of years ago. Also, the chapter on Lucy: she's right - I saw Lucy when she toured, and it was a moment of reverence. Took my breath away.

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Sweettartlaura
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Sneaking in this ARC before its publication. I love a good book about extinct hominids.

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witchkin
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An interesting and informative book on seven of the most famous human fossils. Comes with lots of pictures! At around 200 pages this book is accessible enough for even the most novice of armchair anthropologists. 💀💕

callunakeep @DiruVamp another one added to my to-read stack!! 4y
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