Book By Walker And Shipman Wins Major Science Book Award Grand Prize

June 30, 1997

The General Prize in the 1997 Rhone-Poulenc Prize s for Science Books, which has been described as the most prestigious prize for science writing in the English language worldwide, has been awarded to Alan Walker, distinguished professor of anthropology and biology, and Pat Shipman, adjunct associate professor of anthropology. The Penn State husband-and-wife team win approximately $16,500 (10,000 British pounds) for their book titled "The Wisdom of the Bones: In Search of Human Origins.

The award, which is sponsored by the British Science Museum, the Committee for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS), and the Rhone-Poulenc company, honors the best popular science book written for the nonscientist reader and published in England during 1996.

"The Wisdom of the Bones," published in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf by and in England by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, has been hailed as a thrilling story about the day-to-day realities and higher goals of searching for the origins of modern humans. It tells the story of Alan Walker's discovery in Kenya of the most complete skeleton ever found of Homo erectus, a species that proved to be an ancestor of modern humans, which was unexpectedly tall and strong but did not have full language. The book, which was selected from over 80 entries, will be reprinted by Rhone-Poulenc and a copy will be sent to every university, college, and high school in England.

According to the award sponsors, "'The Wisdom of the Bones' reveals the excitement and challenges, both physical and intellectual, that confront teams of human beings unearthing their ancestral past. It also profoundly influences the debate about how and when the modern human developed. Terry Pratchett, chairman of the 1997 General Prize judges, said during the award ceremony "We were fascinated by the way the forensic net was spread out, bringing so many sciences to bear on the mystery of this million-year-old teenager." For the first time this year, because of the strength of the entries, each of the shortlisted books was given a "runners-up" monetary award, according to Rhone-Poulenc. These books include: "Climbing Mount Improbable" by Richard Dawkins, " Fire in the MInd" by George Johnson, "In the Blood: God, Genes and Destiny" by Steve Jones, "The Origins of Virtue" by Matt Ridley, and "Longitude" by Dava Sobel. Among the former winners of the prize are "Plague's Progress" by Arno Karlen in 1996, "Wonderful Life" by Stephen Jay Gould in 1991; and "The Emperor's New Mind" by Roger Penrose in 1990.

Penn State

Related Modern Humans Articles from Brightsurf:

Paleogenomics -- the prehistory of modern dogs
An international team of scientists has used ancient DNA samples to elucidate the population history of dogs.

Modern humans took detours on their way to Europe
Climate conditions shaped the geography of settlement by Homo sapiens in the Levant 43,000 years ago / findings of Collaborative Research Centre 806 'Our Way to Europe' published in 'PLOS ONE'

Studying the Neandertal DNA found in modern humans using stem cells and organoids
Protocols that allow the transformation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines into organoids have changed the way scientists can study developmental processes and enable them to decipher the interplay between genes and tissue formation, particularly for organs where primary tissue is not available.

ADHD: genomic analysis in samples of Neanderthals and modern humans
The frequency of genetic variants associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has decreased progressively in the evolutionary human lineage from the Palaeolithic to nowadays, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Modern humans, Neanderthals share a tangled genetic history, study affirms
A new study reinforces the concept that Neanderthal DNA has been woven into the modern human genome on multiple occasions as our ancestors met Neanderthals time and again in different parts of the world.

Europe's Neanderthals relied on the sea as much as early modern humans
The first significant evidence of marine resource use among Europe's Neanderthals is detailed in a new report, demonstrating a level of marine adaptation previously only seen in their contemporary modern humans living in southern Africa.

Infectious disease defenses among ancient hominid contributions to adaptation of modern humans
In a new study published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, scientists Alexandre Gouy and Laurent Excoffier have developed new computational tools to better analyze human genome datasets, and found more evidence of a legacy of ancient hominid adaptation, particularly to help fight off infectious diseases like malaria.

Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago
The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170,000 years ago.

Researchers determine age for last known settlement by a direct ancestor to modern humans
An international team of researchers has determined the age of the last known settlement of the species Homo erectus, one of modern humans' direct ancestors.

The homeland of modern humans
A landmark study pinpoints the birthplace of modern humans in southern Africa and suggests how past climate shifts drove their first migration.

Read More: Modern Humans News and Modern Humans Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to