The 560s are paleontology. I could have gone with the “sexy” choice and read a book about dinosaurs, but I remembered hearing about this book on Science Friday and decided it was worth taking a look at.
On the surface the concept is appealing: vignettes speculating on life of some now-extinct species of humans and pre-humans alongside illustrations of reconstructions of the likely appearance of these ancestral species.
In practice, the organization of the book made this promise unfulfilled. The vignettes are not preceded with the species identification which instead comes at head of the second and longest section on each species, a rather technical description of the fossil remains and what is known about the contemporary ecology for the species. I’ve never read any professional journals of paleontology, but I imagine this is what they would read like.
The illustration or illustrations generally come during this section or after it, which is a loss, since it would be nice to have it with the vignette to enable visualizing the text better.
Overall, a bit of a disappointment, but I’ve ended up knowing a lot about hominid paleontology that I hadn’t before.