Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

Here are our top ten recommendations if you are looking for the best books to read in Physical Anthropology. We have made sure our list is diverse to cater to the interests of different types of readers.

1. Sapiens

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

The Sunday Times best seller. Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us sapiens? In this bold and provocative audiobook, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here, and where we're going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind's extraordinary history from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world. For more, visit

  • Author: Yuval Noah Harari
  • Genre: History, World, Civilization & Culture


2. A Pocket History of Human Evolution: How We Became Sapiens

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

Why aren’t we more like other apes? How did we win the evolutionary race? Find out how “wise” Homo sapiens really are. Prehistory has never been more exciting: New discoveries are overturning long-held theories left and right. Stone tools in Australia date back 65,000 years—a time when, we once thought, the first Sapiens had barely left Africa. DNA sequencing has unearthed a new hominid group—the Denisovans—and confirmed that crossbreeding with them (and Neanderthals) made Homo sapiens who we are today. A Pocket History of Human Evolution brings us up-to-date on the exploits of all our ancient relatives. Paleoanthropologist Silvana Condemi and science journalist François Savatier consider what accelerated our evolution: Was it tools, our “large” brains, language, empathy, or something else entirely? And why are we the sole survivors among many early bipedal humans? Their conclusions reveal the various ways ancient humans live on today—from gossip as modern “grooming” to our gendered division of labor—and what the future might hold for our strange and unique species.

  • Author: Silvana Condemi
  • Publisher: The Experiment (November 1, 2019)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences


3. Red: A History of the Redhead

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

The brilliantly told, captivating history of red hair throughout the ages and across multiple disciplines, including science, religion, politics, feminism and sexuality, literature, and art The mere mention of red hair calls to mind vivid pictures. Stereotypes of redheaded women range from the funloving scatterbrain, like Lucille Ball, to the fiery-tempered vixen or the penitent prostitute (Mary Magdalene, for example, is almost always depicted as a redhead). Red-haired men are often associated with either the savage barbarian or the redheaded clown. But why is this so? Red: A History of the Redhead is the first book to explore the history of red hair and red-headedness throughout the world. With an obsessive fascination that is as contagious as it is compelling, author Jacky Colliss Harvey begins her quest in prehistory and traces the redhead gene as it made its way out of Africa with the early human diaspora, only to emerge under Northern skies. She goes on to explore red hair in the ancient world (from the Tarim mummies in China to the Islamic kingdom of the Khazars); the prejudice manifested against red hair across medieval Europe; red hair during the Renaissance as both an indicator of Jewishness during the Inquisition and the height of fashion in Protestant England, where it was made famous by the Henry VIII and Elizabeth I; the modern age of art, and literature, and the first positive symbols of red hair in children's characters; modern medicine and science and the genetic and chemical decoding of red hair; and finally, red hair in contemporary culture, from advertising and exploitation to "gingerism" and the new movement against bullying. More than a book for redheads, Red is the exploration of evolution and gene mutation, as well as a compelling social and cultural study of how prejudice and misconceptions of "other" evolve across centuries and continents and are handed down through generations and from one culture to another.

  • Author: Jacky Colliss Harvey
  • Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal; Illustrated edition (June 9, 2015)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Evolution
  • ISBN: 978-1579129965
  • Dimensions: 6.25 x 1 x 8.25 inches


4. Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), why do many people dislike or avoid it? These engaging stories and explanations will revolutionize the way you think about exercising—not to mention sitting, sleeping, sprinting, weight lifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing. “Strikes a perfect balance of scholarship, wit, and enthusiasm.” —Bill Bryson, New York Times best-selling author of The Body *If we are born to walk and run, why do most of us take it easy whenever possible? *Does running ruin your knees? *Should we do weights, cardio, or high-intensity training? *Is sitting really the new smoking? *Can you lose weight by walking? *And how do we make sense of the conflicting, anxiety-inducing information about rest, physical activity, and exercise with which we are bombarded? In this myth-busting book, Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise—to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Lieberman recounts without jargon how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion. Exercised is entertaining and enlightening but also constructive. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman audaciously argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise. Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman suggests how we can make exercise more enjoyable, rather than shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. He also tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.

  • Author: Daniel Lieberman
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st edition (January 5, 2021)
  • Genre: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Diets & Weight Loss
  • ISBN: 978-1524746988
  • Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches


5. Racing the Clock: Running Across a Lifetime

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

An award-winning, much-loved biologist turns his gaze on himself, using his long-distance running to illuminate the changes to a human body over a lifetime Part memoir, part scientific investigation, Racing the Clock  is the book biologist and natural historian Bernd Heinrich has been waiting his entire life to write. A dedicated and accomplished marathon (and ultra-marathon) runner who won his first marathon at age thirty-nine, Heinrich looks deeply at running, aging, and the body, exploring the unresolved relationship between metabolism, diet, exercise, and age.  Why do some bodies age differently than others? How much control do we have over that process and what effect, if any, does being active have? Bringing to bear research from his entire career and in the spirit of his classic Why We Run , Heinrich probes the questions of how we use energy and continue to adapt to our mutable surroundings and circumstances. Beyond that, he examines how our bodies change while we age but also how we can work with, if not overcome, many of these changes—and what all this tells us about evolution and the mechanisms of life, health, and happiness. Racing the Clock  offers fascinating and surprising conclusions, all while bringing the reader along on Heinrich’s compelling journey to what he says will be his final race—a fifty-kilometer race at age eighty.

  • Author: Bernd Heinrich
  • Publisher: Ecco (July 6, 2021)
  • Genre: Sports & Outdoors, Biographies
  • ISBN: 978-0062973276
  • Dimensions: 6 x 0.81 x 9 inches


6. Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

This adventure in science and imagination, which the Medical Tribune said might herald "a Copernican revolution for the life sciences," leads the reader through unexplored jungles and uncharted aspects of mind to the heart of knowledge.In a first-person narrative of scientific discovery that opens new perspectives on biology, anthropology, and the limits of rationalism, The Cosmic Serpent reveals how startlingly different the world around us appears when we open our minds to it.

  • Author: Jeremy Narby
  • Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam; Reprint edition (January 1, 1999)
  • Genre: Politics & Social Sciences, Social Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0874779646
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8 inches


7. Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

A preeminent geneticist hunts the Neanderthal and Denisovan genomes to answer the biggest question of them all: how did our ancestors become human? Neanderthal Man tells the riveting personal and scientific story of the quest to use ancient DNA to unlock the secrets of human evolution. Beginning with the study of DNA in Egyptian mummies in the early 1980s and culminating in the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome in 2010, Neanderthal Man describes the events, intrigues, failures, and triumphs of these scientifically rich years through the lens of the pioneer and inventor of the field of ancient DNA. We learn that Neanderthal genes offer a unique window into the lives of our ancient relatives and may hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of where language came from as well as why humans survived while Neanderthals went extinct. Päo redrew our family tree and permanently changed the way we think about who we are and how we got here. For readers of Richard Dawkins, David Reich, and Hope Jahren, Neanderthal Man is the must-read account of how he did it.

  • Author: Svante Pääbo
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1st edition (February 11, 2014)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences


8. Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

The ancient world of the Mediterranean and the Near East saw the birth and collapse of great civilizations. While several of these are well known, for all those that have been recorded, many have been unjustly forgotten. Our history is overflowing with different cultures that have all evolved over time, sometimes dissolving or reforming, though ultimately shaping the way we continue to live. But for every culture that has been remembered, what have we forgotten? This thorough guide explores those civilizations that have faded from the pages of our textbooks but played a significant role in the development of modern society. Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World covers the Hyksos to the Hephthalites and everyone in between, providing a unique overview of humanity's history from approximately 3000 BCE-550 CE. Each entry exposes a diverse culture, highlighting their important contributions. Forgotten Peoples of the Ancient World is an immersive, thought-provoking, and entertaining book for anyone interested in ancient history.

  • Author: Philip Matyszak
  • Genre: History, World, Civilization & Culture


9. Essentials of Biological Anthropology

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

The most relevant, interactive, and up to date learning experience Larsen helps engage your students with the dynamic field of biological anthropology. New Anthropology Matters videos encourage students to connect anthropological concepts to the world around them. A highly visual learning tool―InQuizitive―offers a fun, hands on way to master course concepts. And rigorously current content immerses students in the most exciting research and discoveries in the field today. Together these provide everything you need to teach a state of the art course that achieves your course goals.

  • Author: Clark Spencer Larsen
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Fourth edition (December 1, 2018)
  • Genre: Science & Math, Biological Sciences
  • ISBN: 978-0393667431
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.7 x 10.9 inches


10. Ancient Bones: Unearthing the Astonishing New Story of How We Became Human

Top 10 Best Books to Read in Physical Anthropology - August 2021

“Part Sherlock Holmes, part Indiana Jones,  Ancient Bones  is an entertaining and provocative retelling of the human evolutionary story.”—Jeremy DeSilva, author of  First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human Fans of  Sapiens   will love this “fascinating forensic inquiry into human origins”  ( Kirkus ),  where a renowned paleontologist takes readers behind the scenes of one of the most groundbreaking investigations into the origins of humankind. Africa has long been considered the cradle of life—where life and humans evolved—but somewhere west of Munich, Germany, paleoclimatologist and paleontologist Madelaine Böhme and her team make a discovery that is beyond anything they ever imagined: the twelve-million-year-old bones of an ancient ape— Danuvius guggenmos— whichmakes headlines around the world and defies prevailing theories of human history and where human life began. Ancient Bones  takes readers behind the scenes of this incredible discovery, and invites readers to explore theories concerning early hominins to prehistoric humans, how climate and the environment were driving forces behind evolution, and how pivotal evolutionary steps—from our ability to communicate using complex speech to walking upright and using our hands to create—were necessary for humans to evolve and live on this planet. Blending science, history and mystery,  Ancient Bones  explores a fascinating new chapter in the origins of humanity and, above all, brings clarity to what makes humans human. With prose that read like a thrilling detective story, and pages that feature more than 50 images of fossils, maps, and illustrations and diagrams, this exciting exploration of humanity will prove an indispensable read for those who are endlessly curious about who we are, how we got here, and what comes next. Praise for  Ancient Bones: “ Readable and thought-provoking. Madelaine Böhme is an iconoclast  whose fossil discoveries have challenged long-standing ideas on the origins of the ancestors of apes and humans.”— Steve Brusatte,  New York Times -bestselling author of  The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs “An inherently fascinating, impressively informative, and exceptionally thought-provoking read.”— Midwest Book Review “ An impressive introduction to the burgeoning recalibration of paleoanthropology.”— Kirkus Reviews  (starred review)

  • Author: Madelaine Böhme
  • Publisher: Greystone Books; Illustrated edition (September 8, 2020)
  • Genre: Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Politics & Social Sciences