People of the lake : mankind and its beginnings

by Richard E. Leakey

Other authorsRoger Lewin (Joint Author.)
Paper Book, 1978



Call number

GN281 .L4


Garden City, N.Y. : Anchor Press, 1978.


Discusses recent human fossil discoveries at Lake Turkana in Kenya and explains what has been learned about the evolution, anatomy, and social behavior of prehistoric man from these remains.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
Not wonderful. Part of it was that there have been a lot of developments since the book was written, but his obsession with refuting the "killer ape" theory rather warped what was presented, as well. It began with an interesting discussion of the finds( and the findings) at his fossil-hunting site
Show More
at Lake Turkana, and went on to give something of an overview of (then-current) views of the evolution of humans and the fossils on which those views are based. Both of these were frequently interrupted by a paragraph or so about how the killer ape theory uses these facts as support but really they mean.... Then he got grander, and started discussing how culture, language, and intelligence developed - which one created the others, how they built on each other, how they made humans unique (and yes, he discussed Koko and the chimps using sign language - there was a chapter about how humans kept looking for distinct markers and finding animals that shared them). But again, the slant was "but despite/because of these things, the view of humans as naturally murderous is way off..." It got quite dull, actually. An interesting theory about the relative power of men and women in society being based on meat, the province of male hunters, being perceived as the high-status food, while plant materials despite being the majority of the diet of hunter-gatherers (or as he says it, gatherer-hunters) are low-status and associated with women. Which only pushes the problem back a step, why is meat high-status? Anyway. It wasn't really worth my time to read this; I didn't learn anything particularly useful (as I'm not very interested in Richard Leakey's opinions), and I was frequently annoyed. Ah well, done and now I can get rid of it.
Show Less


Physical description

xii, 298 p.; 22 cm


0385130252 / 9780385130257


Page: 0.1991 seconds