Yves Coppens

The Present of the Past II Publication date : March 29, 2012

Yves Coppens is a palaeontologist. An honorary professor at the Collège de France and a member of the French Academy of Sciences, he is internationally recognised as the discoverer of the hominid Lucy. He is the author of Préambules (1998; Odile Jacob paperback, 2001), Le Genou de Lucy (1999), Yves Coppens raconte l’homme (2008), L’Histoire de l’homme. 22 ans d’amphi au Collège de France (2008) and Le Passé du présent I (2009).

Yves Coppens uses the same approach here that made his earlier book (also published by Editions Odile Jacob) so immensely successful. Taking as his starting point a recent event related to prehistory — a new archaeological finding, an original thesis in palaeontology, a current publication in ancient history — he goes on to introduce us, in a simple, clear, often entertaining manner, to a crucial event in the history of our ancestors.
About one hundred short but dense rubrics have been gathered here and are presented chronologically, starting about 10 million years ago till the first centuries of our era, and covering such varied subjects as the earliest pre-humans and the first human beings; Lucy’s thirty years or Neanderthal DNA; the world’s oldest bow or the rock drawings of the Sahara; France and the Americas; the Celts and Lutetia.

• A lively and alert introduction to prehistory, with the basics presented in an entertaining manner.

• The follow-up of the immensely successful Le Passé du présent: L’Actualité de l’histoire de l’homme (1), published in Spring 2009.