“Lone Survivors: How We Came to the Only Humans on Earth” by Chris Stringer (Times Books, 2012)

Lone Survivors
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One might say that Chris Stringer has had the ideal career that he dreamed of achieving when, at the age of eighteen, he switched his major from medicine to anthropology and was accepted in the PhD program at Bristol University to study Neanderthals.  Shortly after graduating he received a job offer at the Paleontology Department at the Natural History Museum in London, where he is still a researcher, and is now one of the world’s foremost paleoanthropologists.

Lone Survivors is the ideal book for any would-be fan of anthropology, wanting to get the latest news and discoveries on our ancient ancestors, as well as the perfect text for one either taking an anthropology course or perhaps contemplating switching majors, much as Stringer did.  The book is an easy read in that Stringer’s voice is conversational and pleasant, he breaks everything down to its base parts, and shows complex matters in a clear light.  He has introductory chapters dedicated to the various methods of archaeology used in studying fossils, as well as dating them.  Stringer also skillfully provides constant hints of matters he will be later discussing to entice and keep the reader hooked.  By the end of the book the reader will feel well educated and well versed on our ancestors, as well as up to date on the latest findings in the world of anthropology.

Originally written on February 3, 2012 ©Alex C. Telander.

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