Pocket-sized prehistory

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Pocket-sized prehistory
Pocket-sized prehistory

Pocket-sized Prehistory

Time is a scarce commodity, and so books are booming that cover a subject as exhaustively as possible, but only in as much space as is necessary

From the Catarchic Era (about 4600 to 3800 million years ago) to the interglacial period in which we live, the paleobiologist Friedemann Schrenk and the editor Stephanie Müller guide their readers in the paperback "Primeval Times" from the series "The 101 Most Important Questions". They deal with basic things like "What did the earth look like in the Pleistocene?" or "How long have mammals existed?", but also answer questions such as "When was the first spring?" and "Is the plankton to blame for the Gulf War?". The fun factor is an absolute must on this trip, but on top of that the authors convey an impressive we alth of detail. The handy format is based not least on the limited number of illustrations.

Almut Bick's "The Stone Age" is more elaborately equipped. The doctor of archeology and science journalist knows her craft. The restriction to that phase of human history in which stone was the most important material leaves room for you to deal with complicated issues, such as the production technology of the Neanderthals around 300,000 years ago, the hunting strategies of early modern people around 15,000 years ago or the spread of agriculture almost 10 years ago 000 years. Even marginal aspects such as the first boomerang from the Oblazowa Cave in Poland, which is more than 20 000 years old, are discussed. The information is very up-to-date, for example Bick already takes into account the genetic studies published in 2005 on the skeletons of the first European farmers. The explanations of important find sites, central find types and spectacular objects, which appear in a loose sequence on colored pages, also contribute a lot to understanding the past life worlds.

All in all: two wonderful books that raise the bar for comparable works.

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