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Human Evolution and the Discovery of Human Antiquity: The Fossil Record

Linda Hall Library Digital Collections

"In the still older strata do the fossilized bones of an ape more anthropoid, or a Man more pithecoid, than any yet known await the researches of some unborn paleontologist?"

                                                       -Thomas H. Huxley, Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature

Huxley, Thomas H. 1863. Evidence. Ape and Human Skeletons.

Blade and Bone: Discovery of Human Antiquity. An Exhibition of Original Publications from the Collections of the Linda Hall Library

Discovering Human Antiquity | Linda Hall Library Digital Collections


"'Lucy is approximately 3.5 million years old. She is the oldest, most complete, best-preserved skeleton of any erect-walking human ancestor that has ever been found.'"

            - Donald Johanson, Lucy: the Beginnings of Humankind

The Piltdown Forgery

"The end of Piltdown man is the end of the most troubled chapter in human palaeontology."

-J. S. Weiner, The Piltdown Forgery

The Fossil Record

The Linda Hall Library Catalog contains a number of titles on the significance of the fossil record and its impact on our understanding of human evolution. Search for a fossil of particular interest, such as the famous Australopithecus afarensis, "Lucy," or read about the archaeological evidence thus far. In the Linda Hall Library History of Science Collection, follow the earliest ideas about the relationship between human bones and  those of our closest ape relatives by such famous naturalists as Thomas Huxley, and explore the Linda Hall Library Databases for the newest publicaitons in this fascinating field of study.

From the Linda Hall Library Catalog

Human Origins at the Smithsonian

From the impact of prehistoric climates to the evolution of human behavior, the Smithsonian's Website and the Exhibit on Human Origins offer an intriguing, interactive look at human evolution. View the acclaimed reconstructions of human ancestors by John Gurche, who spoke about his work at the Linda Hall Library in May of 2014, and explore links for current research, scientific evidence, and human characteristics to learn some of the answers to the question that defines this field: What Makes Us Human?

Additional Resources