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Anthropologist: Scientist of the People

This book is part of Houghton Mifflin's "Scientists in the Field" series.


Selected for Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students 2002 by the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council
". . . a compelling ethnography. It effectively conveys the science and art of anthropology."

"Batten skillfully integrates methodology--narrowing questions, formulating hypotheses, collecting data through formal techniques such as 'focal follow' and 'scan sampling'--with powerful human-interest angles."

The Bulletin
January 2002

". . . concisely written . . . accessibly presenting information about anthropological methodology."
The Horn Book
January/February 2002

Imagine making your living by hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants and insects. Imagine having to worry about being attacked by a jaguar or some other wild animal. This is how our ancestors lived for hundreds of thousands of years, but only a few peoples carry on this ancient lifestyle today. One of the few are the Ache, hunter-gatherers living in Paraguay, a country in South America.

Magdalena Hurtado, an anthropologist who has been studying the Ache for fifteen years, says that our generation may be the last to witness our fellow humans living in a way that was typical for most of human history. The Ache, like most other hunter-gatherers, are endangered by contact with outsiders.

An anthropologist is a scientist who studies people. Dr. Hurtado has spent years in the field, living with the Ache, learning their language, observing their traditions, and recording their history. Many of the ways that human beings feel and act today evolved in very different environments than we live in today. Learning about the great diversity of cultures on our planet teaches us about ourselves. It also inspires us to preserve the knowledge of a fast-disappearing way of life.

Stunning photographs by A. Magdalena Hurtado and Kim Hill.