In Fossil Men: The Quest for the Oldest Skeleton and the Origins of Humankind (William Morrow, 2020), Kermit Pason weaves a detective story of Tim White and his Ethiopian team, working in Ethiopia’s Middle Awash Valley, and their quest for a precursor to “Lucy” — the most famous fossil discovery of the 20th century. White is a larger-than-life personality whose energy at excavating and classifying bones is matched only by his fervor for disagreeing disagreeably with other scientists. In 1994 the team discovered a near complete skeleton of what they believed was a previously unknown human ancestor in a rock formation 4.4 million years old. To the disbelief and anger of an anxious paleoanthropology world, White’s team took 15 years to fully report their find. Pason deftly weaves strands of science, sociology, and political science into a compelling tale that stretches over decades. His discussions of scientific theories and phenomena are sophisticated enough for the expert yet clear and understandable to the novice. Join us on our journey to the Middle Awash and then to laboratories in Ethiopia, Berkeley, and Cleveland to find what it is like to be “Fossil Men” during the discovery of “Ardi” (Ardipithicus ramidus).