Books et al.Paleoanthropology

Understanding our origins

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Science  05 Jun 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6239, pp. 1098
DOI: 10.1126/science.aab1020

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What would happen if tomorrow, scientists were to rediscover the entire hominid fossil record, without any preconceptions inherited from the last century? According to Ian Tattersall, curator emeritus of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History, the resulting picture of human evolution would differ dramatically from that bequeathed to today's paleontologists by their predecessors. In The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack, he traces the contingencies, false starts, and diversity of opinions that have characterized the intellectual history of paleoanthropology from Darwin to today.