What Does It Mean to Be Human?
This generously illustrated book tells the story of the human family, showing how our species' physical traits and behaviors evolved over millions of ... Show synopsis This generously illustrated book tells the story of the human family, showing how our species' physical traits and behaviors evolved over millions of years as our ancestors adapted to dramatic environmental changes. In "What Does It Means to Be Human?" Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian's Human Origins Program, and Chris Sloan, National Geographic's paleoanthropolgy expert, delve into our distant past to explain when, why, and how we acquired the unique biological and cultural qualities that govern our most fundamental connections and interactions with other people and with the natural world. Drawing on the latest research, they conclude that we are the last survivors of a once-diverse family tree, and that our evolution was shaped by one of the most unstable eras in Earth's environmental history. The book presents a wealth of attractive new material especially developed for the Hall's displays, from life-like reconstructions of our ancestors sculpted by the acclaimed John Gurche to photographs from National Geographic and Smithsonian archives, along with informative graphics and illustrations. In coordination with the exhibit opening, the PBS program "NOVA" will present a related three-part television series, and the museum will launch a website expected to draw 40 million visitors.