created by G.J. Sawyer and Viktor Deak ; text by Esteban Sarmiento, G.J. Sawyer, Richard Milner ; with contributions by Donald C. Johanson, Meave Leakey and Ian Tattersall
This book tells the story of human evolution, the epic of homosapiens and its colourful precursors and relatives. The story begins in Africa, six to seven million years ago, and encompasses twenty known human species, of which homosapiens are the sole survivor. Illustrated with spectacular, three-dimensional scientific reconstructions portrayed in their natural habitat developed by a team of physical anthropologists at the American Museum of Natural History and in concert with experts from around the world, the book is both a guide to extinct human species and an astonishing hominid family photo album. "The Last Human" presents a comprehensive account of each species with information on its emergence, chronology, geographic range, classification, physiology, life style, habitat, environment, cultural achievements, and co-existing species, and possible reasons for extinction. Also included are summaries of fossil discoveries, controversies, and publications. What emerges from the fossil story is a new understanding of homosapiens. No longer credible is the notion that our species is the end product of a single lineage, improved over generations by natural selection.
Rather, the fossil record shows, we are a species with widely varied precursors, and our family tree is characterized by many branchings and repeated extinctions.