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

Down from the Trees

Man’s Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors, 1st Edition

By Ralph D. Hermansen

Apple Academic Press

402 pages | 12 Color Illus. | 19 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-06-29
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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

About the Author

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.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General