Ian Tattersall – Masters of the Planet


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.
Author: Ian Tattersall
Narrator: Bob Souer
Duration: 8 hours 43 minutes
Released: 19 Dec 2002
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Language: English

User Review:

correspondence coarse

This book is written in the non-condescending language geared towards an intelligent non-expert, giving a strong and non-sensationalized overview of one of the most fascinating areas in modern science. The book covers roughly the time from the divergence from our common ancestor with chimpanzees to the formation of speech. It acknowledges and dismisses many popular misconceptions about human origins (such as our ancestors learning to stand in order to see over tall grasses) and matter-of-factly states questions that remain open and why they are so. Overall I learned quite a bit from this book and look forward to future developments in this rapidly progressing field that may answer some of those still-open questions.