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Selected References on Human Evolution and Paleoanthropology

Staff in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology have prepared the following teacher bibliography on human evolution as a result of the many inquiries they receive in this broad area of research.

Table of Contents:

Introductory Readers

American Museum of Natural History. The First Humans [volume 1 of The Illustrated History of Humankind]. Harper Collins, 1993.

Andrews, Peter, and Christopher B. Stringer. Human Evolution: An Illustrated Guide. University Press, 1989.

Berger, Lee. "The Dawn of Humans: Redrawing Our Family Tree?" National Geographic 194 (August 1998): 90-99.

Bordes, Francois. A Tale of Two Caves. Harper and Row, 1972.

Caird, Rod and Robert Foley, scientific ed. Apeman, The First Story of Human Evolution. S&S Trade, 1994. Based on the A&E television series.

Cartmill, Matt. "Lucy in the Sand with Footnotes," Natural History (April 1981):90-95.

Places the writing of LUCY within its historical context and explains the theoretical issues the book raises.

Diamond, Jared. The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal. Harper Collins, 1992.

Edey, Maitland A. and Donald C. Johanson. Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution. Viking, 1990.

Gore, Rick. "Dawn of Humans: Expanding Worlds." National Geographic 191 (May 1997): 84-109.

________. "Dawn of Humans: The First Europeans." National Geographic 192 (July 1997): 96-113.

________. "Dawn of Humans: Tracing the First of Our Kind." National Geographic 192 (September 1997): 92-99.

________. "Neanderthals." National Geographic 189 (January 1996): 2-35.

Gowlett, John. Ascent to Civilization; The Archaeology of Early Humans. 2nd ed. McGraw, 1993.

This heavily illustrated book gives up-to-date coverage of human development from the earliest evidence to the beginnings of cities.

Isaac, Glynn L., ed. Human Ancestors. Scientific American. W. H. Freeman, 1980.

Selected significant articles from Scientific American from 1960-90. Includes "The Food-Sharing Behavior of Protohuman Hominids" by Glynn Isaac, reviewing evidence that early erect-standing hominids made tools and carried food to a home base.

Johanson, Donald, Lenora Johanson and Blake Edgar. Ancestors. In Search of Human Origins. Random, 1994. Companion volume to the NOVA television series.

Johanson, Donald C. and James Shreeve. Lucy's Child: The Discovery of a Human Ancestor. Repr. ed. Avon: 1990.

Johanson, Donald C. and Maitland Edey. Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind. S&S Trade, 1990.

A highly readable book that describes the finding and significance of Lucy and her contemporaries.

Johanson, Donald C. From Lucy to Language. Simon & Schuster, 1996.

________. "Dawn of Humans." National Geographic 189 (March 1996):96-117.

Jones, Steve, Robert Martin and David Pilbeam, eds. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994.

Konner, Melvin. The Tangled Wing: Biological Constraints on the Human Spirit. H Holt & Co, 1990.

Konner, an anthropologist, explores the biological aspects and determinants of human behavior. Human thought, mood, and action are explored on many levels based on insights from the social sciences and the humanities.

Lambert, David and the Diagram Group. Field Guide to Early Man. Facts on File, 1987.

Leakey, Meave. "Dawn of Humans." National Geographic 188 (September 1995): 38-51.

Leakey, Richard. The Origin of Humankind. (Science Masters Ser.) Basic Books, 1994.

Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin. The Sixth Extinction: Patterns of Life and the Future of Human Kind. Doubleday, 1995.

Leakey, Richard and Roger Lewin. Origins Reconsidered in Search of What Makes Us Human. Doubleday, 1993.

Concentrating on the hominid line and his own point-of-view, this work is written in easy-to-read conversational style with colored pictures and diagrams. It traces human evolution and the physical and behavioral adaptation reflecting our social and cooperative nature.

Lewin, Roger. Patterns of Evolution: The New Molecular View. WH Freeman, 1996.

________. The Origin of Modern Humans: A Scientific American Library Vol. W. H. Freeman, 1995.

________. Human Evolution; An Illustrated Introduction. 3rd ed. Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1993.

________. Thread of Life: The Smithsonian Looks at Evolution. Smithsonian, 1991.

________. In the Age of Mankind: A Smithsonian Book of Book Evolution. Foreword by Donald C. Johanson. Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

Maitland, Edey and Donald C. Johanson. Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution. 1st ed. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1989.

Pfeiffer, John. The Creative Explosion: An Inquiry into the Origins of Art and Religion. Harper and Row, 1983.

An excellent summary of the place of art in Upper Paleolithic life, and its relationship to the development of our own species.

Pinker, Steven. How the Mind Works. W. W. Norton & Co., 1997.

________. The Language Instinct. Harper Perennial Library, 1995.

Potts, Richard. Humanity’s Descent: The Consequences of an Ecological Instability. Morrow, 1996

Reader, John. Missing Links; The Hunt for Earliest Man. Little, Brown, and Co., 1981.

The story of the search for human fossils, from the discovery of Neandertal to recent finds in East Africa. Color photographs.

Rensberger, Boyce. "Facing the Past," Science 81 (October 1981):40-53.

Describes how Jay Matternes puts muscle and flesh to a Neandertal skull.

Schick, Kathy D. and Nicholas Toth. Making Silent Stones Speak, Human Evolution and the Dawn of Technology. Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Shreve, James. The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins . Morrow, 1995.

________. "Erectus Rising, " Discover (September 1994):80-89.

Smithsonian Timelines of the Ancient World: A Visual Chronology from the Origins of Life to A.D. 1500. Chris Scarre, editor-in-chief. Smithsonian Institution and A. Dorling Kindersley Books, 1993.

Solecki, R. S. Shanidar: The First Flower People. Alfred A. Knopf, 1971.

An account of the excavation of this important Neandertal site.

Tattersall, Ian. The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know About Human Evolution. Oxford Univ. Press, 1995.

________. The Last Neanderthal: The Rise, Success and Mysterious Extinction of Our Closest Human Relatives. Macmillan, 1995.

________. The Human Odyssey. Four Million Years of Human Evolution. Prentice Hall, 1993.

Based on the new hall of human biology and evolution at the American Museum of Natural History.

Thomas, Herbert, Paul G. Bahn (translator), Sharon Avrutick (editor). Human Origins: The Search for Our Beginnings. Harry N. Abrams, 1995.

Trinkaus, Erik and Pat Shipman. The Neandertals: Of Skeletons, Scientists, and Scandal. Vintage Books, 1994.

Weaver, Kenneth F. "The Search for Our Ancestors," National Geographic 168(5), November 1985, pp. 560-623.

An overview of the fossil finds and the paleoanthropological research that has contributed to our knowledge of hominid evolution. Includes photographs of nine fossil hominid skulls and illustrations by Jay H. Matternes distinguishing the physical characteristics of these hominids.

Wolpoff, Milford H. and Rachel Caspari. Race and Human Evolution: A Fatal Attraction. S&S Trade, 1997.

Zihlman, A. L. The Human Evolution Coloring Book. HarperC, 1982.

Introduces earth history, evolution, genetics, anatomy, primates, and human evolution with an easy to understand text and diagrams that are an effective teaching aid.

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Boaz, Noel T. and Alan J. Almquist. Biological Anthropology: A Synthetic Approach in Human Evolution. Prentice-Hall, 1996.

Brace, C. Loring. The Stages of Human Evolution. 5th ed. Prentice-Hall, 1994.

Brace, C. Loring, Harry Nelson, Nel Korn and Mary Brace. Atlas of Human Evolution. 2nd ed. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1979.

Descriptive guide with excellent drawings of important representative skulls from the fossil record.

Campbell, Bernard and James D. Loy, eds. Humankind Emerging. 7th ed. Addson-Wesley Educ., 1995. See also teacher edition.

Fagan, Brian. The Journey from Eden: Peopling of Our World. Thames and Hudson, 1990.

________. People of the Earth: An Introduction to World Prehistory. 7th ed. Add-on-Wesley Educ., 1995..

Feder, Kenneth L. The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory. Mayfield Pub., 1995.

Howells, W. W. Getting Here: The Story of Human Evolution. New ed. Compass Press, 1997.

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Advanced Reading

Aiello, Leslie C. and Phillip L. Wheeler. "The expensive tissue hypothesis: the brain and the digestive system in human and primate evolution," Current Anthropology 36(2):199-221, 1995.

Aiello, Leslie C. and Christopher Dean, eds. An Introduction to Human Evolutionary Anatomy. Academic Press, 1990.

Akazawa, Takeru, Kenichi, Aoki, and Ofer Bar-Yosef, eds. Neandertals and Modern Humans in Western Asia. Plenum Publ. Corp., 1999.

Brain, C. K. ed. Swartkrans. A Cave's Chronicle of Early Man. Transvaal Museum Monograph 8; 1993.

Brain, C. K. The Hunters or the Hunted? An Introduction to African Cave Taphonomy. University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Brown, Michael. The Search for Eve. Harper & Row, 1990.

Byrne, Richard. The Thinking Ape: The Evolutionary Origins of Intelligence. Oxford Univ. Press, 1995.

Campbell, Bernard. Human Ecology:(Foundations of Human Behavior Ser.). 2nd ed. Aldine de Gruyter, 1995.

Cartmill, Matt, William L. Hylander and James Shafland. Human Structure. Harvard Univ. Press, 1987.

Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi and Francesco L. K. Cavalli-Sforza. The Great Human Diaspora: A History of Diversity and Evolution. (Foundations of Human Behavior Ser.) Add-on-Wesley, 1995.

Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi, et al. The History and Geography of Human Genes. Princeton Univ. Press, 1993.

Clark, J. Desmond. The Prehistory of Africa. Thames and Hudson, 1970. (outdated but only publication on this topic)

Ciochon, R. L. & J. G. Fleagle eds. The Human Evolution Source Book. (Advances in Human Evolution.) Prentice Hall, College Div., 1993.

Ciochon, Russell L. and John G. Fleagle, eds. Primate Evolution and Human Origins. Aldine de Gruyter, 1987.

Conroy, Glenn C. Primate Evolution. W. W. Norton & Co., 1990.

Day, Michael H. Guide to Fossil Man. 4th ed. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986.

A handy reference to early human fossils organized by country and sites where the fossils were found. Includes descriptions and often photographs of the fossils.

Deacon, Terrance.W. The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain. W.W. Norton & Co., 1997.

Delson, Eric, et al., eds. Paleoanthropology Annual. Vol. 1. Garland, 1990.

Delson, Eric. Ancestors: The Hard Evidence. Alan R. Liss, 1985.

Durant, John R., ed. Human Origins. Clarendon Press; Oxford Univ. Press, 1989.

Falk, Dean. Braindance: New Discoveries About Human Brain Evolution. Henry Holt and Co., 1994.

Foley, Robert. Another Unique Species: Patterns in Human Evolutionary Ecology. Longman, 1987.

Gamble, Clive. Timewalkers: The Prehistory of Global Colonization. Harvard Univ. Press, 1996.

Gibson, Kathleen R. and Tim Ingold, eds. Tools, Language, and Cognition in Human Evolution. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993.

Goldsmith, Timothy H. The Biological Roots of Human Nature: Forging Links Between Evolution & Behavior. Oxford Univ. Press, 1994.

Harding, Robert S. O., and Geza Teleki. Omnivorous primates: Gathering and Hunting in Human Evolution. Columbia University Press, 1981.

Hay, Richard L. and Mary D. Leakey. "The Fossil Footprints of Laetoli," Scientific American 246(2):50-57, 1982.

Interesting, well-illustrated article reporting the discovery of fossilized footprint 3.6 million years old indicating that hominids walked erect a half of a million years before previously believed.

Holloway, Ralph L. "The Casts of Fossil Hominid Brains," Scientific American (July 1974).

Important article discussing the brain structure of the australopithecines as studied from endocast material.

Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer. The Woman That Never Evolved. Harvard University Press, 1983.

Hrdy, a sociobiologist, focuses on nonhuman primate behavior, particularly monkeys, to demonstrate the wide diversity in primate social structure and behavior. According to Hrdy, primate social systems are dictated by how females space themselves and by the hierarchies they establish that are determined by the availability and utilization of resources. Her observations demonstrate that most female primates are more assertive and sexually active than previously supposed.

Ingold, Tim. Evolution and Social Life. Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Isaac, Glynn Ll. The Archaeology of Human Origins: Papers by Glynn Isaac. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990.

________. "Aspects of Human Evolution," In Essays on Evolution; A Darwin Centenary Volume, edited by D. S. Bendall. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1983.

A review of the major trends and transitions that have characterized human evolution with an emphasis on the changes studied by archeologists.

Isaac, Glynn Ll. and Elizabeth McCown. Human Origins: Louis Leakey and the East African Evidence. W. A. Benjamin, Inc., 1976.

Klein, Richard G. The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins. 2nd ed. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1999.

Lahr, Marta M. The Evolution of Modern Human Diversity: A Study on Cranial Variation. (Studies in Biological Anthropology, no. 18.) Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996.

Lieberman, Philip. The Biology and Evolution of Language. Harvard Univ. Press, 1984.

Lovejoy, C. Owen. "The Origins of Man, " Science 211:341-350, 1981.

Megarry, Tim. Society in Prehistory: The Origins of Human Culture. New York Univ. Press, 1995.

Mellars, Paul, ed. The Emergence of Modern Humans: An ArchŠological Perspective. Cornell Univ. Press, 1991.

Mellars, Paul, ed.. The Emergence of Modern Humans: An Archaeological Perspective. Edinburgh Univ. Press, 1990.

Mellars, Paul and Christopher Stringer, eds. The Human Revolution: Behavioral and Biological Perspectives on the Origins of Modern Humans. Princeton Univ. Press, 1990.

Mellars, Paul. The Neanderthal Legacy: An Archaeological Perspective from Western Europe. Princeton Univ. Press, 1995.

Minthen Steven. The Prehistory of the Mind: The Cognitive Origins of Art, Religion, and Science. Thames & Hudson, 1996.

Phenice, T. W. and N. J. Sauer. Hominid Fossils: An Illustrated Key. 2nd ed. William C. Brown and Co., 1977.

Handbook to the fossil record with excellent outline drawings of various fossils.

Potts, Richard. Early Hominid Activities at Olduvai. (Foundations of Human Behavior Ser.) A. de Gruyter, 1988.

________. "Home Bases and Early Hominids," American Scientist 72:338-347, 1984.

Discusses new views about the earliest archeological sites and interpretations about early human behavior.

Smith, Fred H. and Frank Spencer, eds. The Origins of Modern Humans: A World Survey of the Fossil Evidence. Alan R. Liss, 1984.

A technical review of human evolution from 300,000 to 10,000 years ago, specifically the transition from archaic to modern Homo sapiens. Covers the fossil evidence and major interpretations of the fossils from Europe, the Near East, Africa, and Asia.

Smith, Fred H. The Neanderthal Remains from Krapipna: A Descriptive and Comparative Study. Repr. ed. (Univ. Tennessee, Department of Anthropology, Report of Investigations Ser., no. 15.) Bks Demand.

Stringer, Christopher and Clive Gamble. In Search of the Neanderthals. Thames & Hudson, Ltd., 1993.

Tattersall, Ian, Eric Delson, John Van Couvering, and Alison S. Brooks, eds. 2nd ed. Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. Garland Publishing, 1999.

Trinkaus, Erik, ed. The Emergence of Modern Humans: Biological Adaptations in the Late Pleistocene. (School of American Research Advanced Seminar Ser.) Cambridge Univ. Press, 1990.

Trinkaus, Erik. "The Neandertals and Modern Human Origins." Annual Review of Anthropology 15 (1986):193-218.

Vrba, Elizabeth S., et al., eds. Paleoclimate and Evolution, with Emphasis on Human Origins. Yale Univ. Press, 1994.

Wolpoff, Milford H. Paleoanthropology. 2nd ed. McGraw, 1996.

College-level text about the evidence for human evolution with emphasis on the fossils and their interpretation.

Wood, Bernard A., et al., eds. Major Topics in Primate and Human Evolution. Cambridge Univ. Press, 1988.

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Landan, Misia. Narratives of Human Evolution. Yale Univ. Press, 1991.

Lewin, Roger. Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins. Simon & Schuster, 1987.

McCown, Theodore D. and Kenneth A. R. Kennedy. Climbing Man's Family Tree: A Collection of Major Writings on Human Phylogeny, 1699 to 1971. Prentice Hall, 1972.

A chronological collection of classic writings "dealing with the initial discoveries and descriptions of human fossils, the ideas concerning human antiquity and place of origin, and the philosophical speculations about man's place in nature." Each section is prefaced with an essay that clarifies the major concepts involved.

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Auel, Jean M. The Clan of the Cave Bear. Crown Publishers, 1980. Sequels: Valley of the Horses, 1982. The Mammoth Hunters, 1985. Crown Pub. Group.

Tells the tale of a band of Neandertal gatherers-hunters living on the Crimean peninsula near the shores of the Black Sea. The band adopts a 5 year old Cro-Magnon orphan. With many exciting passages the book captures the essence of that great and subtle gap between Neandertals and their successors. (high school)

Crichton, Michael. Eaters of the Dead. Ballantine 1988.

Golding, William. The Inheritors. Pocket Books, 1981.

A novel about Neandertals and their terror of the "civilized" invaders. Also could use Lord of the Flies to discuss what are human characteristics and how much a social organization is necessary for altruism. (high school)

KurtÚn, Bjorn. Dance of the Tiger: A Novel of the Ice Age. Univ. of California Press, 1995.

A very engaging novel about the co-existence and possible fate of Neandertals and Cro-Magnons between 40,000 and 25,000 years ago. KurtÚn provides excellent background details on the flora and fauna of the time from his background as a paleontologist. The dialogue is well paced and you quickly become engrossed in the plot. He intermingles the ideas of Hultkrantz, de Lumley, Solecki, Trinkaus and Howells in a very convincing manner. (high school)

Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. Reindeer Moon. Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, 1991.

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Leakey, L. S. B. By the Evidence: Memoirs, 1932-1951. Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1974.

Memoirs of his middle career discussing anthropological finds, African wildlife, and Kikuyu tribal customs. Very readable.

Leakey, Mary Douglas. Disclosing the Past. Doubleday, 1985.

A fascinating autobiography which reveals much about Mary Leakey's personal life as well as her archaeological discoveries, told in a dramatic and highly readable style.

Leakey, Richard. One Life: An Autobiography. Published by Salem House Ltd. Distributed by Merrimack Publishing, 1984.

Morell, Virginia. Ancestral Passions: The Leakey Family & the Quest for Humankind’s Beginnings. Touchstone Books, 1996.

Willis, Delta. The Leakey Family: Leaders in Science for Human Origins. (Makers of Modern Science Ser.) Facts on File, 1992.

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Teaching About Evolution

National Academy of Sciences. Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (140 pp.) Available from the National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Ave., N. W., Box 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313. Also available online at

Chapters include: Why Teach Evolution?, Major Themes in Evolution, Evolution and the Nature of Science, Evolution and the National Science Education Standards, Frequently Asked Questions, Activities for Teaching, and Selecting Instructional Materials.

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Student Bibliography

Collins, Desmond. The Human Revolution: From Ape to Artist. Phaidon - E. P. Dutton, 1976.

Excellent illustrations.

Cornell, James. Where Did They Come From? Scholastic Books, 1978.

Dramatic reading about human evolution from the search for Peking Man to the seven cities of gold. Some outdated information. (junior high)

Day, Michael H. Guide to Fossil Man. 4th ed. Univ. of Chicago Press, 1986.

A short introductory booklet on the subject, good for secondary school students.

Early Humans. Eyewitness Books. Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.

Very well-illustrated with photographs.

Elting, Mary and Franklin Folsom. The Wild Mammoth Hunters. Scholastic Books Services, 1968. (Jr. H.)

Higham, Charles. Life in the Old Stone Age. (Cambridge Introduction to the History of Mankind Series.) Cambridge University Press, 1971. (high school)

Johanson, Donald C. "Ethiopia Yields First 'Family' of Early Man." National Geographic (December 1976).

Well-illustrated article describing the discovery of associated fossils representing adults and children -- possibly a 'family' 3 million years old.

Leakey, Richard. Origin of Humankind. HarperC, 1996.

Leakey, Richard and Alan Walker. "Homo Erectus Unearthed," National Geographic 168(5), November 1985, pp. 624-629.

Discusses the 1984 find at Lake Turkana of the most complete early Homo skeleton thus far discovered (approximately 1.6 million years old).

Lewin, Roger. Human Evolution; An Illustrated Introduction. Blackwell Scientific/ W. H. Freeman, 1984.

Covers Ăgyptopithecus, Ramapithecus, Sivapithecus, and Australopithecus and Homo. A very readable book.

Man's Place in Evolution. British Museum (Natural History): Cambridge Univ. Press, 1980.

Written in connection with a museum exhibition, this clearly written and superbly illustrated book discusses how human beings are related to primates and to various "fossil men."

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. Evolution Goes on Every day. Holiday House, 1977. (junior high - 10th)

Patent's overview includes discussions of genes, DNA, mutations, formation of new species, natural and artificial selection, viruses, bacteria, human effects of evolution and even sociobiology. Adequately illustrated.

Wolf, Josef. The Dawn of Man. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1978.

Tells the story from apes to modern humans with many illustrations. (high school)

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