Named one of the Best Books of the year by the New York Times,
Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly

Lucy to Language
Revised, Updated, and Expanded

Donald Johanson & Blake Edgar

Photography by David Brill

“It is very rare in the sciences for one book to serve well the interests of the scientific community and the lay public....From Lucy to Language is one conspicuous and wonderful exception to this rule....From Lucy to Language is a book that you will want to revisit often, one that you will want to share with your children and friends....Johanson and Edgar’s beautiful book now takes its place as one which will inspire future generations....It is a family album for all of us. My copy is already dog-eared.”
Pacific Discovery

Sahelanthropus tchadensis from
Toros-Manalla, Chad, 6–7 nillion years.

From Lucy to Language
is one of the greatest stories ever told, bracketing the timeline between bipedalism and human language. Part I addresses the central issues facing anyone seeking to decipher the mystery of human origins and evolution. Part II profiles sixty of the most significant early human fossils ever found, each reproduced at its actual size in stunning color photos.

Like no species before us, we now seem poised to control vast parts of the planet and its life. We possess the power to influence, if not govern evolution. For that reason, we must not forget our link to the natural world and our debt to natural selection. We need to “think deep” to add a dose of geologic time and evolutionary history to our perspective of who we are, where we come from, and where we are headed. This is the most poignant lesson this book has to offer.

Rights available: World except U.S. and Canada, Germany and Arabic

Homo heidelbergensis from Atapuerca,
Spain, ca. 350,000–500,000 years.


288 pages
205 color photographs
9 black and white illustrations
2 appendices
Dimensions: 11.9 x 10 x 1.1 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds

Donald C. Johanson is Professor of the Virginia M. Ullman Chair in Human Origins and Founding Director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University. Known worldwide for his discovery of the Lucy skeleton, has explored the Great Rift Valley of East Africa for more than four decades, seeking clues to our ultimate origins. He is the author of five previous books, including the international bestseller Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind, the host of the three part Nova series In Search of Human Origins, and continues to lecture regularly.

Blake Edgar combines backgrounds in anthropology, zoology and journalism to report on a broad range of scientific subjects. He is Science Editor at the University of California Press.

David Brill has been staff photographer for National Geographic, and has worked extensively with Donald Johanson on field research sites for the past twenty five years.


“Satisfaction comes from having in one place a concise and authoritative summary of major developments in research techniques and strategies, the accumulating evidence for important steps in human physical and cultural evolution and the struggle to understand the meaning of the many hard-won fossil finds. This is quite an achievement.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Open this book and take history into your hands....Donald Johanson and Blake Edgar pull the reader in with a riveting overview of modern anthropology....The photographic documentation is as gorgeous as it is meticulous: the ancient bones, glowing against matte-black backgrounds, look chillingly frail and familiar.”
Scientific American

“Once in a while it is a real pleasure to come across a book which scores a hit in every department: lively and informative text, outstanding illustrations, good layout and excellent value for money....The full-page illustrations are a triumph of execution and reproduction and will appeal equally to anatomists and artists...I suspect that few people with an interest in human origins will be able to resist buying this book once they have picked it up”
The Biologist

“This is an endlessly fascinating story that has been told many times, but this account is unique because it contains more than 200 beautifully photographed skulls, bones and assorted fossils, taken by David Brill, to accompany the erudite text. A superb example of popular science writing.”
Mail on Sunday

Australopithecus africanus from
Sterkfontein, South Africa, 3.0 million years.

“Rarely does one encounter a book that is readable, informative and beautifully illustrated, but From Lucy to Language is all that….the book itself is a precious discovery for both scientists and general readers.”
New Scientist

“No serious student of paleoanthropology can afford to miss this magnificent, encyclopedic survey of human origins.”
Publishers Weekly

“Permitting a face-to-face encounter with human ancestors, this work furnishes essential information, an incomparable visual experience….”

“Unique in the anthropology field because of its photographic scope and useful in its encyclopedic approach to describing the fossil specimens Australopithecines and Homo, this is highly recommended.”
Library Journal

“Donald Johanson is well known as the discoverer, more than 20 years ago, of the fossil 'Lucy', the oldest more or less complete skeleton of an upright-walking human ancestor. Blake Edgar is a professional writer. Together, and aided by striking photographs from David Brill, they have produced an encyclopedic reference book that tells you everything you wanted to know about the different varieties of Homo and our near relations the australopithecines (Lucy and her like).”
Kirkus (UK)


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