47 Must Read Books That Explain Human Evolution

homo habilis

Lucy: Her Story of Survival

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: or, Vanished Races Central Publishing House 1885
  2. Brown Jr., Tom, Tom Brown’s Field Guide: Wilderness Survival  Berkley Books 1983
  3. Caird, Rod  Apeman:  The Story of Human Evolution  MacMillan  1994
  4. Calvin, William, and Bickerton, Derek  Lingua ex Machina: Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the Human BrainMIT Press, 2000
  5. Carss, Bob and Birch, Stewart The SAS Guide to Tracking Lyons Press Guilford Conn. 2000
  6. Cavalli-Sforza, Luigi Luca and Cavalli-Sforza, Francesco  The Great Human Diasporas: The History of Diversity and Evolution   Perseus Press  1995
  7. Conant, Dr. Levi Leonard The Number Concept: Its Origin and Development  Macmillan and Co. Toronto 1931
  8. Diamond, Jared  The Third Chimpanzee   Harper Perennial  1992
  9. Edey, Maitland  Missing Link  Time-Life Books  1972
  10. Erickson, Jon Glacial Geology: How Ice Shapes the Land   Facts on File Inc. 1996
  11. Fleagle, John Primate Adaptation and Evolution  Academic Press 1988
  12. Fossey, Dian   Gorillas in the Mist    Houghton Mifflin  1984
  13. Galdikas, Birute  Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo Little Brown and Co. 1995
  14. Goodall, Jane In the Shadow of Man  Houghton Mifflin  1971
  15. Goodall, Jane The Jane Goodall Institute 2005 http://www.janFriendshipegoodall.com/chimp_central/chimpanzees/behavior/communication      .asp
  16. Goodall, Jane Through a Window Houghton Mifflin 1990
  17. Grimaldi, David, and Engel, Michael Evolution of the Insects Cambridge University Press 2005
  18. Human Dawn: Timeframe Time-Life Books 1990
  19. Johanson, Donald and Simon, Blake Edgar  From Lucy to Language  Simon and Schuster  1996
  20. Johanson, Donald and O’Farell, Kevin  Journey from the Dawn:  Life with the World’s First Family  Villard Books 1990
  21. Johanson, Donald and Edey, Maitland Lucy:  The Beginnings of Humankind   Simon and Schuster  1981
  22. Johanson, Donald and Shreve, James Lucy’s Child: The Discovery of a Human Ancestor Avon 1989
  23. Jones, Steve, Martin, Robert, and Pilbeam, David The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution Cambridge University Press 1992
  24. Leakey, Richard and Lewin, Roger  Origins   E.P. Dutton 1977
  25. Leakey, Richard The Origin of Humankind  Basic Books  1994
  26. Leakey, Louis  Stone Age Africa,  Negro Universities Press   1936
  27. Lewin, Roger  In the Age of Mankind  Smithsonian Books  1988
  28. McDougall, J.D. A Short History of the Planet Earth   John Wiley and Sons 1996
  29. Meade, Margaret   Coming of Age in Samoa
  30. Morris, Desmond Naked Ape Dell Publishing 1999
  31. Morris, Desmond The Human Zoo Kodansha International 1969
  32. Rezendes, Paul Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign Quill: A HarperResource Book 1999
  33. Savage-Rumbaugh, Susan, et al Kanzi: The Ape at the Brink of the Human Mind John Wiley and Sons 1996
  34. Spencer Larson, Clark et al  Human Origins: The Fossil Record  Waveland Press 1998
  35. Stringer, Chris, and McKee, Robin  African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity  Henry Holt and Co. NY 1996
  36. Strum, Shirley C. Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons Random House 1987
  37. Tattersall, Ian  Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness   Harvest Books 1999
  38. Tattersall, Ian et al  Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory, Chicago: St James Press 1988
  39. Tattersall, Ian Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know About Human Evolution Oxford University Press 1997
  40. Tattersall, Ian  The Human Odyssey:  Four Million Years of Human Evolution  Prentice Hall 1993
  41. Tudge Colin Time Before History   Touchstone Books  1996
  42. 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
  43. Vogel, Shawna Naked Earth: The New Geophysics  Dutton 1995
  44. Vygotsky, Lev  The Connection Between Thought and the Development of Language in Primitive Society 1930
  45. Walker, Alan and Shipman, Pat  Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins  Vintage  Books  1996
  46. Waters, JD Helpless as a Baby  http://www.jdwaters.net/HAAB%20Acro/contents.pdf  2001
  47. Wills, Christopher Runaway Brain: The Evolution of Human Uniqueness   Basic Books 1993

Do you have any you’d add?

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersCisco guest blog, Technology in Education featured blogger, IMS tech expert, and a bi-monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is the editor of a K-8 technology curriculumK-8 keyboard curriculumK-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum, and creator of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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