Biology

Down from the Trees
Man’s Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors

Ralph D. Hermansen

Down from the Trees

In production
Pub Date: Feb, 2018
Hardback Price: $129.95 US
Hard ISBN: 9781771886543
Pages: Approx 310p w/Index
Binding Type: hardback
Notes: 12 color and 18 b/w illustrations

There is nothing more interesting to humans than the story of their origins. The evolutionary process of a tree-dwelling ape becoming a walking, talking man who has developed the technology to walk on the moon, transplant hearts, or modify living things is no trivial story. This book provides a fascinating and comprehensive view of what science has learned of human evolution. This volume covers the evolution of man from tree-dwelling ape in easy-to-read language, taking complex, jargon-filled material and extracting the core information. Each of the 40 chapters covers a topic broad enough and complex enough to deserve a book of its own, but the author extracts the essence of the topic and coveys it in an elegant manner.

Down from the Trees: Man’s Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors approaches the subject of human evolution from three different disciplines: fossil evidence and its interpretation, evolutionary theory and its applicability, and genetic evidence and its ability to unlock prehistoric information. The third discipline has advanced unbelievably in the last few years, and this book includes the most up-to-date research.

The book is certain to be of interest to curious intelligent readers. This book would be ideal as a supplementary book in anthropology classes. An instructor’s manual is available for faculty. Students can learn about the long evolutionary path leading from tree-dwelling ape to modern human with relatively easy reading compared to typical textbooks. That journey begins when our ancestral apes came down from the trees. An instructor’s manual is available for faculty.

Key features:

  • covers the evolution of man from tree-dwelling ape in easy-to-read language, taking complex, jargon-filled material and extracting the core information
  • includes the most up-to-date information on this topic

CONTENTS:
Preface

PART I: FOSSILS TELL A STORY
1. Stratigraphy

2. Time Divisions

3. The K/T Extinctions and the Mammalian Species Radiation

4. Primates and Apes

PART II: BIPEDAL SPECIES
5. Fossils and Human Evolution

6. The Paleo-Anthropologists

7. Overview of Our Distant Ancestors

8. Ardi

9. Lucy and Australopithecus afarensis

10. Australopithecus sediba

11. Homo naledi

12. Homo erectus

13. Neanderthal Man

14. Homo sapiens

PART III: HOW EVOLUTION WORKS
15. Charles Darwin

16. The Modern Synthesis

17. Richard Dawkins, the Darwin of Our Times

18. How New Species Form

19. Red Queen Effect

20. Evolution of Bipedal Apes and Humans

PART IV: DNA: A POWERFUL NEW TOOL
21. Introduction to DNA Technology

22. The Race to Discover DNA’s Structure

23. Discovering the Secret to Life

24. Mutations and Junk DNA

PART V: DNA APPLIED TO PALEOANTHROPOLOGY
25. DNA Science Applied to Human Origins

26. Tracing Our Ape Heritage

27. The Age and Origin of Our Species

28. Out of Africa

29. Neanderthal-Human Interbreeding

30. Denisovan-Human Interbreeding

PART VI: UNIQUELY HUMAN EVOLUTION
31. Bipedal Walking

32. Hairlessness

33. Big Brain Development

34. Speech and Language

35. Fire, Cooking and Tools

36. Sex

PART VII: HOMO SAPIENS DOMINATE
37. Great Leap Forward

38. Agriculture and Civilization

39. The Journey from Ape to Man

40. What the Future Holds

Index


About the Authors / Editors:
Ralph D. Hermansen
Former Senior Scientist, Hughes Aircraft Company

Ralph D. Hermansen, a graduate chemist by education, had a 40-year career in materials science and engineering. He moved around a bit in his early career in order to broaden his experience and knowledge. Ralph liked multidisciplinary projects that were at the leading edge of technology. Consequently, he has worked on the design of an atom smasher, on classified weapons programs, on design of the Boeing 737 and 747 airplanes, on military aircraft and their electronic platforms, on space satellites, on missiles, on automotive electronics, on telephony and other commercial applications. He planted his roots with Hughes Aircraft Corporation in his later career and eventually retired from there as a Senior Scientist. Concurrent to his daytime job at HAC, he was an instructor for their off-hour classes, teaching Pascal programming and Materials Engineering. Career-wise, he has contributed numerous technical articles to journals and magazines, has 21 patents, and has two published books related to his career field. The most recent is Polymeric Thermosetting Compounds, available from Apple Academic Press. This unique book is about the art and science of custom formulating adhesives, encapsulants, castings, coatings, et al. toward a specified set of property goals.

Ralph adopted a second career path after retiring in 1998, that of multidisciplinary science writer. His primary focus has been evolutionary science, which is incredibly diverse. Anthropology was his favorite subject at the University of New Mexico in the 1960s, but he stayed with materials science/engineering as a surer path to feeding his growing young family. However, New Mexico and the surrounding area are rich in prehistoric sites. Ralph loved to visit Frijoles Canyon, Chaco Canyon, Aztec, and Mesa Verde to inspect the cliff dwellings of the long gone Anasazi. Years before writing Down from the Trees, Ralph had been filling his bookshelves with books on evolutionary topics. He used these sources to research and compose articles on selected aspects of evolution. He exchanged these thoughts with the late author Elaine Morgan through correspondence for years. Human evolution has become controversial when it really need not be. Ralph’s goal in writing Down from the Trees was to help curious readers learn the facts in plain language without battling the jargon, realize that the evidence is overwhelming, see that our prehistoric past is fascinating and filled with unsolved puzzles, and realize that they can join in the fun of interpreting the new clues being constantly discovered.




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