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Close Encounters with Humankind Summary and Reviews

Close Encounters with Humankind

A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species

by Sang-Hee Lee

Close Encounters with Humankind by Sang-Hee Lee X
Close Encounters with Humankind by Sang-Hee Lee
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Book Summary

In this captivating bestseller, Korea's first paleoanthropologist offers fresh insights into humanity's dawn and evolution.

What can fossilized teeth tell us about the life expectancy of our ancient ancestors? How did farming play a problematic role in the history of human evolution? How can simple geometric comparisons of skull and pelvic fossils suggest a possible origin to our social nature? And what do we truly have in common with the Neanderthals? In this captivating international bestseller, Close Encounters with Humankind, Korea's first paleoanthropologist, Sang-Hee Lee, explores some of our greatest evolutionary questions from new and unexpected angles.

Through a series of entertaining, bite-sized chapters, we gain fresh perspectives into our first hominin ancestors and ways to challenge perceptions about the traditional progression of evolution. By combining anthropological insight with exciting, cutting-edge research, Lee's surprising conclusions shed new light on our beginnings and connect us to a faraway past. For example, our big brains may have served to set our species apart and spur our societal development, but perhaps not in the ways we have often assumed. And it's possible that the Neanderthals, our infamous ancestors, were not the primitive beings portrayed by twentieth-century science. With Lee as our guide, we discover that from our first steps on two feet to our first forays into toolmaking and early formations of community, we have always been a species of continuous change.

Close Encounters with Humankind is the perfect read for anyone curious about where we came from and what it took to get us here. As we mine the evolutionary path to the present, Lee helps us to determine where we are heading and tackles one of our most pressing scientific questions?does humanity continue to evolve?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Highly accessible, consistently interesting popular science writing." - Kirkus

"Though specialists might grimace at Lee's lack of nuance, lay readers will be grateful for her straightforward work." - Publishers Weekly

"Written in an easygoing, conversational style, this collection offers an intriguing glimpse into the study of human evolution. Recommended for general readers curious about paleoanthropology or those looking for an introduction to the subject." - Library Journal

"Deftly weaving together science and personal observation, Lee proves an engaging, authoritative guide on this nickel tour of the human condition." - Kate Wong, Scientific American

"Sang-Hee Lee has posed some of the big questions in human evolution and has written brief, clear, and jargon-free essays about them. Her informal, clear style and commonsense explanations are delightful and engaging. Brava!" - Pat Shipman, Professor of Anthropology and author of The Invaders

"In this insightful collection, Sang-Hee Lee shows herself to be a gifted storyteller, breathing new life into the old bones, with both the intimate knowledge of a practitioner and a dose of cross-cultural scientific sensitivity. A pleasure to read!" - Jonathan Marks, Professor of Anthropology and author of Tales of the Ex-Apes

"I have struggled for years to find reading materials that cover the basics of human evolution without overwhelming students with dry, technical minutiae. At last, a book that does this! This book will appeal not only to students, but to anyone who is curious about the world." - Dean Falk, coauthor of Geeks, Genes, and the Evolution of Asperger Syndrome

"Close Encounters with Humankind is a terrific introduction to the story of human evolution for someone who is just beginning to explore the field, but even those familiar with the material will find a lot of new information here. I congratulate Sang-Hee Lee for writing an appealing, factual, and entertaining book on the ever-fascinating topic of human evolutionary history." - Wenda Trevathan, author of Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Shaped Women's Health

This information about Close Encounters with Humankind was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sang-Hee Lee

Sang-Hee Lee is a professor of anthropology and associate dean of the college of humanities, arts, and social sciences at UC Riverside, and lives in Riverside, California. She earned her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

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