"Fascinating. . . . As engaging an explanation of how scientists study fossil bones as any I have ever read." –John R. Alden, Philadelphia Inquirer
In 1984 a team of paleoanthropologists on a dig in northern Kenya found something extraordinary: a nearly complete skeleton of Homo erectus, a creature that lived 1.5 million years ago and is widely thought to be the missing link between apes and humans. The remains belonged to a tall, rangy adolescent male. The researchers called him "Nariokotome boy."
In this immensely lively book, Alan Walker, one of the lead researchers, and his wife and fellow scientist Pat Shipman tell the story of that epochal find and reveal what it tells us about our earliest ancestors. We learn that Nariokotome boy was a highly social predator who walked upright but lacked the capacity for speech. In leading us to these conclusions, The Wisdom of the Bones also offers an engaging chronicle of the hundred-year-long search for a "missing link," a saga of folly, heroic dedication, and inspired science.
"Brilliantly captures [an] intellectual odyssey. . . . One of the finest examples of a practicing scientist writing for a popular audience." –Portland Oregonian
"A vivid insider’s perspective on the global efforts to document our own ancestry." –Richard E. Leakey
About Alan Walker
Alan Walker is Professor of Music at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Before going to Canada, he worked in the Music Division of the BBC in London. He is the author of several books of musical criticism and analysis, and… More about Alan Walker
About Pat Shipman
Pat Shipman is a professor of anthropology at Penn State University. Coauthor of the award-winning The Ape in the Tree, she writes for American Scientist and lives in Moncure, North Carolina.