The Last Lost World

Ice Ages, Human Origins, and the Invention of the Pleistocene

Lydia V. Pyne - Author

Stephen J. Pyne - Author

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ISBN 9781101583685 | 320 pages | 14 Jun 2012 | Penguin | 18 - AND UP
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An enthralling scientific and cultural exploration of the Ice Age—from the author of How the Canyon Became Grand
From a remarkable father-daughter team comes a dramatic synthesis of science and environmental history—an exploration of the geologic time scale and evolution twinned with the story of how, eventually, we have come to understand our own past.
            The Pleistocene is the epoch of geologic time closest to our own. The Last Lost World is an inquiry into the conditions that made it, the themes that define it, and the creature that emerged dominant from it. At the same time, it tells the story of how we came to discover and understand this crucial period in the Earth’s history and what meanings it has for today.

Prologue: Mossel Bay, South Africa


Chapter 1: Rift

African Rift

Renaissance Rift

Past Imperfect

Chapter 2: Ice

Ice Age

The Ice Cometh and Goeth

Eiszeit and Zeitgeist

Chapter 3: Story

The Geographic Narrative: From Big Chill to Spark Within

The Genomic Narrative: Not in the Stars, but in Ourselves

The Cultural Narrative: The Gloss of Temperament

Part 2: The Great Game

Chapter 4: Footnotes to Plato

True to Type

Antecedents and Analogues

Origins: The Beginnings of the Ends

Chapter 5: Out of Africa

Parallel Paths of the Past

Erectus Unbound: Quest for Fire

The Orthogenesis of an Idea

Chapter 6: Missing Links

Forging the Chain

From Chain to Tree

Links Found, Lost, Invented, and Written

Method, the Modern Synthesis

Extinct Links and Eternal Verities

Chapter 7: New Truths, Heresies, Superstitions

Ice, Fire, and Giants: The European Pleistocene

The Last Made First

Founding Fathers

Places of Refuge, Sites of Revelation

Dwarves on the Shoulders of Gyants

Chapter 8: The Ancients and the Moderns

Sapients in the Looking Glass

Battle of the Books, Battle of the Bones

Ochre and Aurochs


Chapter 9: The Hominin Who Would Be King

The Geographic Narrative: The Great Realignment

The Genomic Narrative: The Great Himself

The Cultural Narrative: The Great What-If

Chapter 10: The Anthropocene

Humanity’s Planetary Presence

Behaviorally Modern Disciplines

Epilogue: Rift Redux

Appendix: Figures

Authors’ Note



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