Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Every Bone Tells a Story

Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw's book about archaeologists (and palaeontologists) and all of the other forensic scientists needed to correctly identify and make the scientific discoveries involved with the long dead has a fairly complex name, albeit one that more fully identifies the narrative included: Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates.
The titular "bones" belong to the 1.6M year old Turkana Boy, the Palaeolithic Lapedo Child, the 9,000 year-old bones of the Kennewick Man and the Iceman. While some of the stories have been included in other books or been the subject of books (particularly the Iceman), what makes this book stand out and will appeal to either teens interested in archaeology or science is the information gleaned from the discoveries. Notable examples of this include development of human language from the Turkana chapter and the information scientists gather from sites involving painstaking efforts which then gives them a picture of the existing vegetation, animal life, and evidence of human occupation.
Detailed examinations of each recovery includes reports on illnesses, potential causes of deaths and frequent debates among scientists when these reports did not jibe with the accepted science. Readers are given all sides of the arguments and will be left to make up their own minds. Each section includes photographs, concludes with websites and further readings and will find a home in school and public libraries. This title has been named a finalist for the 2011 YALSA Award of Excellence.
Review copy from publishers.

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