Brown University

The Accidental Species: Misunderstandings of Human Evolution

by Henry Gee
University of Chicago Press, October 2013   ISBN: 978-022628488-0
Price: $26.00

"The idea of a missing link between humanity and our animal ancestors predates evolution and popular science and actually has religious roots in the deist concept of the Great Chain of Being.  Yet, the metaphor has lodged itself in the contemporary imagination, and new fossil discoveries are often hailed in headlines as revealing the elusive transitional step, the moment when we stopped being 'animal' and started being 'human.'  In The Accidental Species, Henry Gee, longtime paleontology editor at 'Nature,' takes aim at this misleading notion, arguing that it reflects a profound misunderstanding of how evolution works and, when applied to the evolution of our own species, supports mistaken ideas about our own place in the universe...combines Gee's firsthand experience on the editorial side of many incredible paleontological findings with healthy skepticism and humor to create a book that aims to overturn popular thinking on human evolution--the key is not what's missing, but how we're linked."

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