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First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human

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In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walking was a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human—from our technological abilities, our thirst for exploration, our use of la In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walking was a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human—from our technological abilities, our thirst for exploration, our use of language–and may have laid the foundation for our species’ traits of compassion, empathy, and altruism. Moving from developmental psychology labs to ancient fossil sites throughout Africa and Eurasia, DeSilva brings to life our adventure walking on two legs. First Steps examines how walking upright helped us rise above all over species on this planet. First Steps includes an eight-page color photo insert.


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In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walking was a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human—from our technological abilities, our thirst for exploration, our use of la In First Steps, paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walking was a gateway to many of the other attributes that make us human—from our technological abilities, our thirst for exploration, our use of language–and may have laid the foundation for our species’ traits of compassion, empathy, and altruism. Moving from developmental psychology labs to ancient fossil sites throughout Africa and Eurasia, DeSilva brings to life our adventure walking on two legs. First Steps examines how walking upright helped us rise above all over species on this planet. First Steps includes an eight-page color photo insert.

30 review for First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maher Razouk

    يسألني الناس أحيانًا متى سيجد العلماء الحلقة المفقودة بين القردة والبشر. أقول لهم أننا لدينا هذه الحلقة بالفعل. يفترض مفهوم الحلقة المفقودة أنه يجب أن يكون هناك دليل في السجل الأحفوري لحيوان لم يكن إنسانًا وليس قردًا ولكنه كان يمتلك خصائص كليهما. في عام 1891 ، كان عالم التشريح الهولندي يوجين دوبوا يبحث عن حفريات على طول نهر سولو في جزيرة جاوا الإندونيسية. استعاد هو وفريقه ضرسًا من أشباه البشر ، وأعلى جمجمة ، وعظمة في الساق. أشارت الساق إلى أن أشباه البشر كانوا ذو قدمين ، وأن سعة الدماغ في الجمجمة يسألني الناس أحيانًا متى سيجد العلماء الحلقة المفقودة بين القردة والبشر. أقول لهم أننا لدينا هذه الحلقة بالفعل. يفترض مفهوم الحلقة المفقودة أنه يجب أن يكون هناك دليل في السجل الأحفوري لحيوان لم يكن إنسانًا وليس قردًا ولكنه كان يمتلك خصائص كليهما. في عام 1891 ، كان عالم التشريح الهولندي يوجين دوبوا يبحث عن حفريات على طول نهر سولو في جزيرة جاوا الإندونيسية. استعاد هو وفريقه ضرسًا من أشباه البشر ، وأعلى جمجمة ، وعظمة في الساق. أشارت الساق إلى أن أشباه البشر كانوا ذو قدمين ، وأن سعة الدماغ في الجمجمة تبلغ 915 سم مكعب. لا يوجد إنسان بالغ اليوم لديه دماغ بهذا الحجم ، ولا يوجد قرد لديه دماغ بهذا الحجم. في الواقع ، حجم دماغ الجمجمة تقريبًا في منتصف المسافة بين متوسط ​​حجم دماغ الشمبانزي ودماغ الإنسان العادي : الرابط المفقود. أطلق دوبوا على اكتشافه اسم Pithecanthropus erectus ، والذي يُترجم تقريبًا إلى رجل قرد منتصب. اليوم ، يُطلق على أشباه البشر التي جاءت منها هذه الحفريات اسم الإنسان المنتصب ، وقد استعاد علماء الأنثروبولوجيا العشرات منها في جميع أنحاء إفريقيا وآسيا وأوروبا. لا يمكن المبالغة في ضخامة اكتشاف دوبوا. لقد أظهر أنه كان هناك كائن حي على هذا الكوكب يسد - على الأقل من حيث حجم الدماغ - الفجوة بين القردة الحديثة والإنسان الحديث. لم يعد الرابط مفقودًا. . Jeremy DeSilva First Steps Translated By #Maher_Razouk

  2. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Fascinating look at walking upright I enjoyed this book. Jeremy DeSilva writes with a good sense of humor and a conversational tone. I like how DeSilva shares his journey with the reader. He also provides information on the players in the area. There is some science in the book, but it is all very clearly explained. The book was a pleasure to read and represents excellent science writing. I recommend it for anyone interested in science. Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance reader copy of Fascinating look at walking upright I enjoyed this book. Jeremy DeSilva writes with a good sense of humor and a conversational tone. I like how DeSilva shares his journey with the reader. He also provides information on the players in the area. There is some science in the book, but it is all very clearly explained. The book was a pleasure to read and represents excellent science writing. I recommend it for anyone interested in science. Disclosure: I received a complimentary advance reader copy of this book via Edelweiss for review purposes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Baeyle

    This book was equally funny and informative so I never got bored. I was an anthro major so some of the information was familiar, but it is written in plain language as well as academic language so anyone can enjoy this book (and it didn't give me flashbacks of writing research papers). I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in human evolution and how we use our bodies today! This book was equally funny and informative so I never got bored. I was an anthro major so some of the information was familiar, but it is written in plain language as well as academic language so anyone can enjoy this book (and it didn't give me flashbacks of writing research papers). I definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in human evolution and how we use our bodies today!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Doug Gordon

    This book dovetailed nicely with two other recent books on paleoanthropology that I've read within the last few months: "Fossil Men" and "Ancient Bones." Some of the people in the first book and the author of the second book were mentioned in this one, but the book really took a different approach and there was surprisingly little redundancy among all three books. In my opinion, "Fossil Men" was the most interesting of the three but I would put this one in second place since it has so much unique This book dovetailed nicely with two other recent books on paleoanthropology that I've read within the last few months: "Fossil Men" and "Ancient Bones." Some of the people in the first book and the author of the second book were mentioned in this one, but the book really took a different approach and there was surprisingly little redundancy among all three books. In my opinion, "Fossil Men" was the most interesting of the three but I would put this one in second place since it has so much unique content. The best option: read all three!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Having recently read Fossil Men, much of which turns upon when exactly bipedalism and upright locomotion first evolved in hominins, this book was especially fascinating, positing that the evidence now suggests that the formulation above may be putting it wrong - that bipedalism may have already evolved and been established in the last common ancestor of hominins and apes, and that the question is not when hominins evolved bipedalism, but when apes evolved away from it. Really fascinating stuff.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Malorie Albee

    As someone interested in the human foot, this book was perfect! It is also written for a general audience and easily accessible, which I enjoyed. I highlighted, underlined, starred, and dog eared every corner of this book. It is informative and entertaining. Highly recommend!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Best book I’ve read on paleoanthropology. Sounds dull — foot bones and bipedalism, but it’s extremely well told.

  8. 4 out of 5

    DT

    One of the best and most-accessible science books I've read in a long time. The author is a reputable paleoanthropologist, which means he studies the fossil record of human ancestors and relatives. He explores the evolution of upright walking, which he persuasively contends created the social networks and problem-solving skills that made us, as the title suggests, human. The most impressive aspect of this book was the easygoing, almost conversational, tone the author struck. He's a former science One of the best and most-accessible science books I've read in a long time. The author is a reputable paleoanthropologist, which means he studies the fossil record of human ancestors and relatives. He explores the evolution of upright walking, which he persuasively contends created the social networks and problem-solving skills that made us, as the title suggests, human. The most impressive aspect of this book was the easygoing, almost conversational, tone the author struck. He's a former science museum educator, and in every page, you can see him wandering up to a stranger with a fossil and saying "hey, would you like to see something cool?" To bridge the gap between the technical and the understandable, he enlists a variety of historical, cinematic, musical, sports, and even viral internet references. The book is deep, but not complicated, and that's a really tough tightrope to walk for a scientist. Although it's clear the author was influenced by Carl Sagan, the final result (which is hopefully the first of many) reminds me of Bill Bryson. Bryson's magic, at least when he's on his game, is to breathe life into people you've never heard of by letting their humanity shine through, and in so doing, make their scientific contributions all the more compelling. In reinforcing his view that science is necessarily collaborative, he heralds and dissects the discoveries of numerous other scientists. But he doesn't just recite their names and tell you what they found. He tells their stories, and their stories advance his overall story. In so many ways, this is a book about who we are. I recommend it highly.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I was hoping for a complete focus on Australopithecus, who does get a lot of attention; but the emphasis here is on bipedalism in general and its effect on the development of humans. A breezy, easy-to-follow style, which this non-scientist appreciated. (Didn't so much appreciate the wince-inducing chapter on the injuries to knees and backs and ankles.) Desilva is careful to note that the scientists he's citing are usually part of a larger team, which doesn't always get pointed out. I like the way I was hoping for a complete focus on Australopithecus, who does get a lot of attention; but the emphasis here is on bipedalism in general and its effect on the development of humans. A breezy, easy-to-follow style, which this non-scientist appreciated. (Didn't so much appreciate the wince-inducing chapter on the injuries to knees and backs and ankles.) Desilva is careful to note that the scientists he's citing are usually part of a larger team, which doesn't always get pointed out. I like the way the endnotes were handled, with the phrase Desilva was supporting being repeated; it made it easier to place the citation in the text. (Are people really so freaked the hell right out by endnote numbers? Really?) There is a lot of info about Australopithecus, who turns out to be more like modern humans than anticipated.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amber Lockwood

    Absolutely phenomenal look at the evolution of bipedalism in hominins, and how it affects us today! The author clearly has both a lot of knowledge and a lot of love for the things he has written about, and he gets it across in a way that is both informative and easy to read. He explains things very well; at no point did I fail to understand the terms or concepts he explained, yet I also never felt patronized or belittled in the way he wrote things. The author also was very clear about explaining Absolutely phenomenal look at the evolution of bipedalism in hominins, and how it affects us today! The author clearly has both a lot of knowledge and a lot of love for the things he has written about, and he gets it across in a way that is both informative and easy to read. He explains things very well; at no point did I fail to understand the terms or concepts he explained, yet I also never felt patronized or belittled in the way he wrote things. The author also was very clear about explaining why common misconceptions are wrong, and is so obviously anti-racist and anti-sexist, which was extremely refreshing and unfortunately rare when reading paleontology or paleoanthropology books written by men. He loves his wife and children so much and that is shown clearly through every mention of them! I would honestly give his book 5.5 stars if I could!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Miguel

    Very capable overview on the anthropological history of bipedalism. Though a really good walk through how humans came to walk on two (instead of four) legs, it is a very broad introduction with the author touching on so many different aspects that there’s never a very deep dive. The more recent book ‘Fossil Men’ had a more detailed analysis of foot bone composition and probable evolutionary pathways than First Steps, which is kind of what I was hoping there would be more of here. Still it’s very Very capable overview on the anthropological history of bipedalism. Though a really good walk through how humans came to walk on two (instead of four) legs, it is a very broad introduction with the author touching on so many different aspects that there’s never a very deep dive. The more recent book ‘Fossil Men’ had a more detailed analysis of foot bone composition and probable evolutionary pathways than First Steps, which is kind of what I was hoping there would be more of here. Still it’s very well written and does contain quite a few interesting facts and is a very good addition on paleoanthropological history for this very lay and interested reader (also has one of the best ‘family tree’ representations I’ve seen, although the other illustrations are somewhat lackluster). It also encourages and inspires one to get out and walk more.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ridie

    This was an amazing book that I still think about all the time and will continue to think about for a long time to come. While written by an experienced paleoanthropologist, what could have been a didactic academic treatise was so captivating and readable, and often very funny. Who thought I would laugh out loud so many times at a book on fossils 😊 I loved how Dr. DeSilva was able to bring what has been discovered about bipedalism and its evolution to today's human physical and emotional outcome This was an amazing book that I still think about all the time and will continue to think about for a long time to come. While written by an experienced paleoanthropologist, what could have been a didactic academic treatise was so captivating and readable, and often very funny. Who thought I would laugh out loud so many times at a book on fossils 😊 I loved how Dr. DeSilva was able to bring what has been discovered about bipedalism and its evolution to today's human physical and emotional outcomes caused by becoming upright. And while I always knew walking was good for us, the author has totally convinced me I need to be out walking consistently. Better than any book written on the benefits of exercise! Highly recommend this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Burgess

    Paleoanthropologist, DeSilva traces the evolution of bipedalism, upright walking, the distinct, but not entirely unique, feature of humans. Fascinating analysis of fossil finds, in the quest to discover why and how and when humans started to walk upright, the advantages and disadvantages of bipedalism, the continual change in understanding as more fossils are discovered, following the “foot prints” of our earliest ancestors and relatives of millions of years ago. Written for the lay-person, the Paleoanthropologist, DeSilva traces the evolution of bipedalism, upright walking, the distinct, but not entirely unique, feature of humans. Fascinating analysis of fossil finds, in the quest to discover why and how and when humans started to walk upright, the advantages and disadvantages of bipedalism, the continual change in understanding as more fossils are discovered, following the “foot prints” of our earliest ancestors and relatives of millions of years ago. Written for the lay-person, the reader can begin to understand time, evolution, starts and stops, the wonders of fossil finds, the deep knowledge of anatomy required to piece together disparate parts of homo sapiens. Wonderful read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Drkazmd65

    Admittedly I am a science nerd and biological sciences PhD - but I thought that this was an excellent book. Full of good information, personal touches and experiences that Dr. DeSilva has accumulated during his career, and insight into how we have been putting together the 'missing links' in human evolution. It is well written, not too technical, and very accessible to both scientists and just interested non-scientists. I recommend this book highly to anybody interested in human evolution and ju Admittedly I am a science nerd and biological sciences PhD - but I thought that this was an excellent book. Full of good information, personal touches and experiences that Dr. DeSilva has accumulated during his career, and insight into how we have been putting together the 'missing links' in human evolution. It is well written, not too technical, and very accessible to both scientists and just interested non-scientists. I recommend this book highly to anybody interested in human evolution and just in general how science works.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ross Owen

    Absolutely engrossing! The first two sections offer fairly detailed accounts of human evolution through a rather unique lens, even by the standards of scientific accounts - namely, by recounting the differences and developement of hind limbs. The third and final section is where things turn to modern humans. This is what I was expecting the entire book to be about, but I am by no means disappointed!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ray Smithee

    Excellent review of all the fossil hominid bones found since the beginning of paleo anthology as a science. Basically he concludes that upright walking has forced us to become an empathetic, caring species. We would not survive without group support, with a special emphasis on women needing midwives to deliver babies.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    A fantastic book by Jerry DeSilva. In this walk through human evolution, he addresses some profound and fundamental questions about who we are as a species in a way that is accessible to all, and flat out fun.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

    Loved this book! Very clear, straightforward approach to human evolution through the spectacles of walking. Practical, too, in its explanations of how walking on two feet still has a huge impact on our health and lives today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    Phenomenal !!!!!! Placed "First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human" on my list of the 3 best science books. A must read! Written well. Great documentation. Phenomenal !!!!!! Placed "First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human" on my list of the 3 best science books. A must read! Written well. Great documentation.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I haven't read this yet but added it to my list after reading this article: https://lithub.com/on-the-link-betwee... I haven't read this yet but added it to my list after reading this article: https://lithub.com/on-the-link-betwee...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Great writer, great story, interesting and informative

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alan Eyre

    Fascinating in explicating causes and consequences of bipedalism

  23. 5 out of 5

    Howard Sundwall

    Outstanding science writing: informative, enlightening and often funny. DeSilva has a gift for making complicated information easy to understand.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    Very well written and a wonderful description of how application of the scientific method has refined man’s understanding of our evolution with a particular focus on walking.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Steven Beck

  26. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schweiker

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chesh

  29. 4 out of 5

    LEONARD OPPENHEIMER

  30. 4 out of 5

    George B. Gardner

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