Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review No. 26 - Seven Skeletons by Lydia Pyne

Hey there! Last week was a rough one at our house, but things are slowly getting back to normal. Our lovely boxer, Indy, had a couple of seizures and they really took a lot out of her. Now that she is on medication, she is doing well but really tired.
I've been spending a lot of time just sitting by her side on the couch. To pass the time, I finished reading this book called "Seven Skeletons" by Lydia Pyne. 
This book presents the stories behind the discoveries of seven well-known paleoanthropology finds. 
I really enjoyed this book, as I have my MA in this field. Although I've studied the fossils (actually I've studied photos and replicas of the fossils), I knew very little about the background behind their discoveries and the people that found them. It can be hard to find a book that doesn't read like a textbook when talking about these fossils, but Pyne does an excellent job engaging the reader.  
The author covers "hobbit" (H. floresiensis), Lucy (A. afarensis), La Chapelle-aux-Saints 1 (H. neanderthalensis), Taung Child (A. africanus), the fossil assemblage known as Peking Man (H. erectus), A. sediba, and the Piltdown Man hoax. Pyne puts the fossils into the context of the discovery era. She discusses the scientific landscape of the time, and how these fossils changed our understanding of the human story. It was rather enjoyable reading about the people who worked on these famous (or infamous) discoveries and how the mind frame of the scientific community progressed with improved technologies. 
I highly recommend to anyone interested in human evolution, paleoanthropology, or science history in general. Reading about scientific discoveries becomes much fuller when you get the backstory of the people working in the field.
Until next time, I am going to enjoy the cooler weather.

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