Field Guide to Cradle of Humankind

ISBN: 9781770070653
Format: Paperback
Release Date:2004-12-01


First published in August 2002, Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind caused a considerable stir among professionals in the field of palaeoanthropology (a field fraught with professional jealousies, subjective interpretation and egos) and sparked a flurry of newspaper articles, journal articles and general debate. The authors acknowledged that some inaccuracies had crept into their work, but also defended much of what they had written and highlighted their field as highly interpretive and often subjective. In the midst of fierce criticism, the book got people talking and sold out in less than a year – indicating the level of public interest in the subject matter. In this second edition of the book, the text has been thoroughly revised and updated: inconsistencies and any errors have been corrected, and recent discoveries and theorizing – which have altered our understanding of some past events and patterns – have been incorporated to reflect the most up-to-date thinking in the field. Key diagrams have been revised or replaced; and the appendix to animals, plants and birds has been updated, as has the list of contacts in the area. A new foreword to the second edition, written by Mark Read, Vice Chairman of PAST (Palaeo-Anthropology Scientific Trust), presents the field as one that is ever changing and as “perhaps the most fractured and fractious science of all”. He acknowledges the publication as ambitious and filling a significant gap in the market. The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is a unique area that probably tells us more about the history of our earliest ancestors than any place of a comparable size elsewhere in the world. This book facilitates the spread of the knowledge we have gained in the field thus far. It tells us something of the world in which our ancestors lived; provides a guide to all the known hominid species; details all the sites within the area and describes its animals and plants, both past and present, to give the reader a context in which to understand who we are and where we have come from.

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