August 2, 2011

47 Must Read Books That Explain Human Evolution

Here’s a well-rounded list of books that will tell you the basics of mankind’s evolution from primate to modern man. It includes books on the paleoanthropology,

archeology, paleo-everything, primate behavior, evolution of those features that characterize our human-ness and more. I’ve read every book on this list, keep most of them in my library. I wish I could read each one again for the first time:

  1. Allen, E.A., The Prehistoric World Central Publishing House 1886
  2. Caird, Rod Apeman: The Story of Human Evolution MacMillan 1994
  3. Calvin, William, and Bickerton, Derek Lingua ex Machina: Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human BrainMIT Press, 2000
  4. Carss, Bob and Birch, Stewart The SAS Guide to Tracking Lyons Press Guilford Conn. 2000
  5. Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca and Cavalli-Sforza, Francesco The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution Perseus Press 1995
  6. Conant, Dr. Levi Leonard The Number Concept: Its Origin and Development Macmillan and Co. Toronto 1931
  7. Diamond, Jared The Third Chimpanzee Harper Perennial 1992
  8. Edey, Maitland Missing Link Time-Life Books 1972
  9. Erickson, Jon Glacial Geology: How Ice Shapes the Land Facts on File Inc. 1996
  10. Fleagle, John Primate Adaptation and Evolution Academic Press 1988
  11. Fossey, Dian Gorillas in the Mist Houghton Mifflin 1984
  12. Galdikas, Birute Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo Little Brown and Co. 1995
  13. Goodall, Jane In the Shadow of Man Houghton Mifflin 1971
  14. Goodall, Jane The Jane Goodall Institute 2005 .asp
  15. Goodall, Jane Through a Window Houghton Mifflin 1990
  16. Grimaldi, David, and Engel, Michael Evolution of the Insects Cambridge University Press 2005
  17. Human Dawn: Timeframe Time-Life Books 1990
  18. Johanson, Donald and Simon, Blake Edgar From Lucy to Language Simon and Schuster 1996
  19. Johanson, Donald and O’Farell, Kevin Journey from the Dawn: Life with the World’s First Family Villard Books 1990
  20. Johanson, Donald and Edey, Maitland Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind Simon and Schuster 1981
  21. Johanson, Donald and Shreve, James Lucy’s Child: The Discovery of a Human Ancestor Avon 1989
  22. Jones, Steve, Martin, Robert, and Pilbeam, David The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution Cambridge University Press 1992
  23. Leakey, Richard and Lewin, Roger Origins E.P. Dutton 1977
  24. Leakey, Richard The Origin of Humankind Basic Books 1994
  25. Leakey, Louis Stone Age Africa, Negro Universities Press 1936
  26. Lewin, Roger In the Age of Mankind Smithsonian Books 1988
  27. McDougall, J.D. A Short History of the Planet Earth John Wiley and Sons 1996
  28. Meade, Margaret Coming of Age in Samoa
  29. Morris, Desmond Naked Ape Dell Publishing 1999
  30. Morris, Desmond The Human Zoo Kodansha International 1969
  31. Rezendes, Paul Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign Quill: A HarperResource Book 1999
  32. Savage-Rumbaugh, Susan, et al Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind John Wiley and Sons 1996
  33. Spencer Larson, Clark et al Human Origins: The Fossil Record Waveland Press 1998
  34. Stringer, Chris, and McKee, Robin African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity Henry Holt and Co. NY 1996
  35. Strum, Shirley C. Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons Random House 1987
  36. Tattersall, Ian Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness Harvest Books 1999
  37. Tattersall, Ian et al Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory, Chicago: St James Press 1988
  38. Tattersall, Ian Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know About Human Evolution Oxford University Press 1997
  39. Tattersall, Ian The Human Odyssey: Four Million Years of Human Evolution Prentice Hall 1993
  40. Tudge Colin Time Before History Touchstone Books 1996
  41. Turner, Alan, and Anton, Mauricio The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives: An Illustrated Guide to Their Evolution and Natural History Columbia University Press NY 1997
  42. Vogel, Shawna Naked Earth: The New Geophysics Dutton 1995
  43. Vygotsky, Lev The Connection Between Thought and the Development of Language in Primitive Society 1930
  44. Walker, Alan and Shipman, Pat Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins Vintage Books 1996
  45. Waters, JD Helpless as a Baby 2001
  46. Wills, Christopher Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness Basic Books 1993

Do you have any you’d add?

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, an ISTE article reviewer, an IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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