Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins” as Want to Read:
Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  137 ratings  ·  19 reviews
From the savannas of Africa to modern-day labs for biomechanical analysis and molecular genetics, Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins reveals how anthropologists are furiously redrawing the human family tree. Their discoveries have spawned a host of new questions: Should chimpanzees be included as a human species? Was it the physical difficulty of human childbirth ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published February 6th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Smithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins

A Planet of Viruses by Carl ZimmerParasite Rex by Carl ZimmerThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver SacksThe Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc BekoffA Window on Eternity by Edward O. Wilson
9th Grade Bio Book List
9th out of 42 books — 2 voters
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert GreeneFrom Lucy to Language by Donald C. JohansonExtinct Humans by Ian TattersallThe Last Neanderthal by Ian TattersallSmithsonian Intimate Guide to Human Origins by Carl Zimmer
Power Athlete Course Syllabus
5th out of 29 books — 1 voter

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 383)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Oct 03, 2013 Hilary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hilary by: Mahiri
An enjoyable look at the history of the human species - or at least what is known of it for now. The book goes into decent depth in terms of controversy surrounding certain aspects of evolution (for instance, bipedalism and why it arose) as well as explaining how paleoanthropologists manage to deduce as much as they do from such small fragments of fossil.

The book was overall enjoyable and a light enough read that it goes by quickly. In particular, the illustrations and photographs were near. I w
Carl Zimmer's book is a creditable survey of the science of human origins. His text is easy to read, and his treatment of the subject fairly extensive given how broad it is, but where this book really shines is in the visuals. There are 100 color photographs and illustrations in this book, and that works out to around one every two pages. This is something that more book publishers could learn from; if you want to engage the minds of the modern reader, you could do worse than to give a picture/t ...more
Gijs Grob
Beknopte beschrijving van de geschiedenis van de mens als soort (vanaf de eerste hominiden tot de eerste landbouw en veeteelt).

Het boekje is vooral interessant vanwege de jongste inzichten en ontdekkingen, waarvan sommige het beeld van onze voorgeschiedenis opvallend ingrijpend weten te veranderen. Erg volledig is het boekje echter niet, de ontdekking van het vuur en de ontwikkeling van borsten bijvoorbeeld worden volledig overgeslagen en aan de Paranthropus-tak wordt nul aandacht besteed.

Zo is
Holly Lindquist
This is a very readable and visually appealing introduction to our evolutionary roots. Packed with illustrations, photographs, and discussions of contemporary theories (example: Did humans and neanderthals interbreed?), it reads fairly fast. I found the actual writing to be a bit choppy though, with a few vagaries and some distracting tangents. Still, it's fairly up to date (it even includes Homo Floresiensis - the so-called "hobbits"). As a general overview of a fascinating science, I'd give it ...more
This was a fine basic introduction to what is known about hominids. However it suffered from the fact that I have just read Ian Tattersall's book Becoming Human, which has much better writing. This book did have wonderful glossy photos of artifacts, reconstructions of what various hominids looked like, and of fossils. I also did not like how the final chapter of the book mentions evolutionary psychology without indicating that it is not a very respected field of science.
Steven Taylor
Jul 23, 2009 Steven Taylor rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Homo sapiens
Great book about our distant ancestors. I'm glad I started with this book on the subject: it's an easy-to-read introduction with beautiful photos of the fossils. Should be read by all homo sapiens! I'll end this review as many e-mails end: forward this to ten homo sapiens you know and you'll have good luck!
Joe Iacovino
Solid presentation. Easy read, great illustrations. Provides a good overview. It is not overly technical which relegates it to those who are "beginners" or maybe some "intermediates" in the studying of human evolution. I do recommend it to be part of your science bookshelf.
Very basic but well written and easy to read.
Jos Rienties
Voor alle mensen die Darwin's The Origin of the Species te moeilijk vinden.
Makkelijk leesbaar en goed begrijpbaar.Een aanrader voor al diegene die ondanks alle feiten de evolutie theorie blijven verwerpen.
Regina Hunter
Great book, but didn't go into the details too deep, and didn't talk about some of the roots of the M168 and connection of the indigenous Australians. It is similar to many books on the subject.
Greg Collver
I enjoyed the book and I enjoy Zimmer's style of writing. I did not enjoy the inserts, it was like reading National Geographic articles with inserts that disrupt the story line.

I admit it, I bought this book for the pictures. The photography is awesome. Mr. Zimmer's book is an excellent summary of human origins and an easy read.
I read the version whose title is "Where Did We Come From?". It was exactly the same book as the Smithsonian Guide. I don't like the inserts.
I read the version whose title is "Where Did We Come From?". It was exactly the same book as the Smithsonian Guide. I don't like the inserts.
Adam Lewis
A popular-level account of human origins. Carl Zimmer's writing is crystal clear as usual and the illustrations are first rate.
Like a series of Discover articles, up-to-date, lots of nice photos, graphs, and charts. A useful primer on the topic.
Nice illustrated introduction to human origins.
J.R. Ortiz
great and simple read
Kevin Duffy
Science is good.
Zack Reagin
Zack Reagin marked it as to-read
Nov 22, 2015
Janna marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2015
Brandon Meredith
Brandon Meredith marked it as to-read
Nov 21, 2015
Axel Blaster
Axel Blaster marked it as to-read
Nov 18, 2015
Mckenzie Rea
Mckenzie Rea marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2015
Kathy marked it as to-read
Nov 16, 2015
Chloe Chen-Kraus
Chloe Chen-Kraus marked it as to-read
Nov 15, 2015
Alec is currently reading it
Nov 16, 2015
Adam Abou Soukkar
Adam Abou Soukkar marked it as to-read
Nov 13, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • From Lucy to Language: Revised, Updated, and Expanded
  • The Last Human: A Guide to Twenty-Two Species of Extinct Humans
  • Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness
  • The Complete World of Human Evolution
  • The First Human: The Race to Discover Our Earliest Ancestors
  • The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins
  • The Dawn of Human Culture
  • Evolution The Human Story
  • Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans
  • Out of Eden: The Peopling of the World
  • The Plausibility of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma
  • The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died Out and We Survived
  • The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
  • The Science of Vampires
  • Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA
  • Punctuated Equilibrium
  • Neuroscience
  • Born in Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life
Carl Zimmer is an award-winning science writer. He is a columnist for the New York Times and is the author of several books, including Parasite Rex, Soul Made Flesh, and A Planet of Viruses.
More about Carl Zimmer...

Share This Book