"Over the last century, the search for human ancestors has spanned four continents and resulted in the discovery of hundreds of fossils. Most of these discoveries live quietly in museum collections, but some have become celebrities, embraced by wide audiences and held as touchstones in how we understand our human origins. In Seven Skeletons, historian of science Lydia Pyne explores how seven of them gained their fame. Pyne introduces readers to the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the prototype for one hundred years of caveman caricatures; the Piltdown Man, Charles Dawson's 'dawn-ape,' accepted by the scientific establishment for forty years before it was revealed to be an elaborate hoax; the Taung Child, a tiny skull whose renown rests on the doggedness of its discoverer; bones from China collectively known as Peking Man, lost forever during World War II; Lucy, named for the Beatles song and an icon of evolution; the three-foot-tall 'hobbit' from Flores, Indonesia; and 2008's Australopithecus sediba, a fossil with its own Twitter account. Drawing from paleoanthropology, interviews, museum exhibitions, science fiction, and even poetry, Pyne brings to life each fossil. She also captures their equally important, and compelling, afterlife--how they are described, put on display, and shared among scientific communities and the broader public. Some fossils, such as the Taung Child, sparked debates over the elusive 'missing link' between humans and apes. Others, like Lucy, become the fossil that all new discoveries are measured against. Seven Skeletons puts the impact of paleoanthropology into new context--a joyful reminder of how our past as a species continues to affect, in astonishing ways, our present culture and imagination."--Dust jacket. "A science historian describes seven famous ancestral fossils that have become known around the world, including the three-foot tall "hobbit" from Flores, the Neanderthal of La Chapelle, the Taung Child, the Piltdown Man hoax, Peking Man, Australopithecus sediba and Lucy,"--NoveList.