Down from the Trees : Man’s Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors book cover
1st Edition

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

ISBN 9781774634189
Published March 31, 2021 by Apple Academic Press
422 Pages 12 Color & 19 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Down from the Trees: Man’s Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors covers the evolution of man from tree-dwelling ape to Homo sapiens as he is today. Using easy-to-read language, the author takes complex, jargon-filled material and extracts the essence of the topic and coveys it in a clear and engaging manner. He 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.

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.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Fossils Tell a Story 

1. Stratigraphy 

2. Time Divisions 

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

4. Primates and Apes 

Part 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: Uniquely Human Evolution  

31. Bipedal Walking 

32. Hairlessness  

33. Big Brain Development 

34. Speech and Language  

35. Fire, Cooking and Tools 

36. Sex  

Part 7: Homo Sapiens Dominate 

37. Great Leap Forward 

38. Agriculture and Civilization 

39. The Journey from Ape to Man  

40. What the Future Holds

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Ralph D. Hermansen had a 40-year career in materials science and engineering. He has worked on many diverse engineering projects, including an atom smasher, classified weapons programs, design of the Boeing 737 and 747 airplanes, military aircraft and their electronic platforms, space satellites, missiles, automotive electronics, and 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. Career-wise, he has contributed numerous technical articles to journals and magazines, has 21 patents, and has several published books related to his career field. One of his most recent is Polymeric Thermosetting Compounds, available from Apple Academic Press.

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. Ralph's goal in writing Down from the Trees was to help curious readers learn the facts in plain language without battling the jargon and see that our prehistoric past is fascinating and filled with unsolved puzzles.