Cover image for Dawn of man : the story of human evolution
Dawn of man : the story of human evolution
McKie, Robin.
Personal Author:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dorling Kindersley Pub., 2000.
Physical Description:
216 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
"This book is published to accompany the BBC television series Ape-man, first broadcast in the United States as Dawn of man on the Learning Channel in 2000."--Verso t.p.

Originally published: London : BBC Worldwide, 2000.
Added Uniform Title:
Ape-man (Television program : 2000)
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GN281 .M4 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
GN281 .M4 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
GN281 .M4 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GN281 .M4 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
GN281 .M4 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Why did our earliest ancestors leave the trees and start to walk on two legs? What were the early people like? Did they have language? Were they predators or prey? Dawn of Man tells the remarkable epic of our 5-million-year journey from ape to man. This extraordinary story has been pieced together form a myriad of fossil finds, prehistoric cave paintings, discarded stone tools, and traces of ancient genetic material. In this dramatic and highly readable account, Robin McKie, Science Editor of The Observer, unravels the saga of how these discoveries form a picture of our ancestors' lives. It is a gripping scientific detective story full of paleontologist-detectives whose intellect and foibles add to the adventure. The story arrives at a revelation of how our world became dominated by a single primate species: Homo sapiens. The clues to our past include astonishing human-like footprints, preserved in volcanic ash sediments for over 3.5 million years, made by a half-ape, half-man creature already walking on two legs; a startlingly well-preserved skeleton unearthed at Lake Turkana, Kenya, revealing the grim life-and-death story of an 11-year-old boy who lived on the African savannah 1.5 million years ago; and minute DNA samples which some scientists believe will help them trace back the lineage of Homo sapiens to one African woman who lived 200,000 years ago. Illustrated with evocative recreations of early man and his landscapes, photographs of the human fossils and of the paleontologists who discovered them, and maps of key fossil sites, this book- which accompanies The Learning Channel's fascinating new television series, Dawn of Man- unravels the clues, the setbacks, the human dramas, and the scientific disputes to tell the astonishing story of our ancestry.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Plentifully adorned with photos and drawings, McKie's very accessible work follows two interwoven, compelling stories. The first is the story of all of usÄfrom the first "bipedal apemen, probably Australopithecus afarensis," to the Neanderthals who competed with modern humans' ancestors during the last Ice Age. The second story is the story of how the first got told: it's all about paleoanthropologists (especially Kenya's Leakey family and their co-workers) and the fossils they hunt and interpret. McKie (African Exodus), the science editor for Britain's Observer, has fashioned his book as a tie-in for the six-hour BBC-TV series of the same name, scheduled for American broadcast on the Learning Channel in early August. He begins with bipedalism, evidenced in a famous pair of footprints. Then there are skulls, like Australian anatomist Raymond Dart's much-debated Taung child, which established our African descent. Ongoing debates about early language bring in the Nariokotome boy, a well-preserved Homo erectus: do his spine and rib cage entitle us to conclude that his species couldn't speak? "La Sima de los Huesos" (the Pit of Bones) in northern Spain yields lots of bones and our earliest knowledge about people in Europe (it turns out they ate one another). Other topics include intercontinental migration, diet, the history of the stone axe, hunting strategies, Ice Ages, fire, and the beginnings of culture and art. Readers who know zilch about protohumansÄwhether or not they also catch the TV showÄwill find McKie's volume a wonderful place to start: amateurs of paleoanthropology will find that McKie's details, sidebars, notes and examples cater to their interest and capture the current state of the field. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved