Synopses & Reviews
Principles of Human Evolution presents an in-depth introduction to paleoanthropology and the study of human evolution. Focusing on the fundamentals of evolutionary theory and molecular genetics approaches to important questions in the field, this timely textbook will help students gain a perspective on human evolution in the context of modern biological thinking.The second edition of this successful text features the addition of Robert Foley, a leading researcher in Human Evolutionary Studies, to the writing team. Strong emphasis on evolutionary theory, ecology, and behavior and scores of new examples reflect the latest evolutionary theories and recent archaeological finds. More than a simple update, the new edition is organized by issue rather than chronology, integrating behavior, adaptation, and anatomy. A new design and new figure references make this edition more accessible for students and instructors.
Many discoveries and new evidence have emerged since the first edition, making this book a timely and necessary addition to any introductory evolution course.
Roger Lewin is an Associate of the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. He is the author of half a dozen books on human origin research, three of which he co-authored with world-famous anthropologist Richard Leakey, as well as the author of the prize-winning Bones of Contention
Robert A. Foley is the Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of King’s College. He is the author of numerous articles and books on human evolution, including Another Unique Species (1987) and Humans before Humanity (1995). His research has focused on the links between human evolution and ecological and evolutionary mechanisms.
About the Author
Review from Times Higher Education Supplement
, February 2004
-Alan Bilsborough, University of Durham
Human evolutionary studies now encompasses such wide-ranging subject matter that accounts confined to simple narrations of the fossil record no longer suffice, while the pace of discovery creates a continuing demand for clear, balanced introductions to the subject. This book's authors - an expert science communicator and a researcher who has had a major influence in broadening theoretical perspectives on human evolution - form a dream team to guide us through the subject's complexities.
This much-expanded second edition of an established text differs from its predecessor and virtually every other treatment in its range and its emphasis on principles, whether of evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, behaviour, ecology or comparative frameworks. Whereas most accounts condense such fundamentals into an abbreviated introduction before homing in on the hominid fossil record, this book dedicates some 200 pages, or about 40 per cent of the text, to the subject. The approach is to view human evolution as exemplifying general evolutionary forces and processes that impact on hominids as on other species, not to treat human evolution as a one-off case for which issues of evolutionary dynamics, adaptation, ecology and so on have little, if any, relevance.
The book is impressively broad in scope, well organised and clearly written. Key issues are flagged up, with questions alongside the text to serve as prompts. Alternative interpretations are accurately summarised, with a balanced commentary and sufficient facts to indicate each argument's basics without overloading detail. Each chapter ends with a "Beyond the facts" box summarising a current issue and its underlying concepts to stimulate further thought.
There are reasonable illustrations of important fossil specimens and excellent diagrams that greatly clarify issues of theory and interpretation. An associated website promises further resources.
I would have welcomed rather more coverage of the fossil evidence; on the other hand, there is a very clear pr?cis of genetic data bearing on modern human origins, and an excellent account of cognitive and behavioural aspects of human evolution.
The book is aimed at the US market but will find many takers this side of the Atlantic among anthropology, archaeology and evolutionary biology students. Inevitably, some aspects will quickly be overtaken by new discoveries. The website, if developed, will help here, but minor obsolescences matter little compared with the book's great strength, which is to provide readers with an accessible, secure and comprehensive conceptual framework for human evolution, within which they can make sense of new developments.
Alan Bilsborough, University of Durham, Times Higher Education Supplement, February 2004
Table of Contents
Prologue For Students: A Guide To Studying Human Evolution.
Part I: The Framework Of Human Evolution:.
1. The Growth Of The Evolutionary Perspective:.
Man’s Place In Nature.
Establishing The Link Between Humans And Apes: Historical Views.
Human Evolution As Narrative And Explanation.
2. The Principles Of Evolutionary Theory:.
The Fundamentals Of Evolutionary Theory.
Modern Evolutionary Theory: The Development Of Neo-Darwinism And The Power Of Natural Selection.
3. Pattern And Process In Evolution:.
From Micro To Macro Evolution: Debates In Modern Evolutionary Theory.
The Physical Context Of Evolution.
Extinction And Patterns Of Evolution.
4. The Geological Context:.
Science Of Burial.
5. The Systematic Context:.
6. Human Evolution In Comparative Perspective:.
The Comparative Perspective.
Bodies, Size, And Shape.
Bodies, Brains, And Energy.
7. Reconstructing Behavior:.
Bodies, Behavior, And Social Structure.
Nonhuman Models Of Early Hominin Behavior.
Part II: Early Hominin Evolution:.
8. Apes, Hominins, And Humans: Morphology, Molecules, And Fossils:.
Morphology And Molecules: A History Of Conflict.
Evolution Of The Catarrhines – The Context Of Hominin Origin.
9. Searching For The First Hominins:.
The Earliest Hominins.
10. The Ape-Like Hominins:.
11. Origins Of Homo:.
The Genus Homo.
12. Behavior And Evolution Of Early Hominins:.
Early Tool Technologies.
The Pattern Of Early Hominin Evolution.
13. Africa And Beyond - The Evolution Of Homo:.
Hunter Or Scavenger.
Part III: Later Hominin Evolution:.
14. The Origin Of Modern Humans: Background And Fossil Evidence:.
Background For The Evolution Of Modern Humans.
Competing Hypotheses For Modern Human Origins.
The Question Of Regional Continuity.
15. The Origin Of Modern Humans: Genetic Evidence:.
The Impact Of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics.
16. The Origin Of Modern Humans: Archeology, Behavior, And Evolutionary Process:.
Regional Patterns In The Archeology.
Towards An Integrated Model Of Modern Human Origins.
17. Evolution Of The Brain, Intelligence, And Culture:.
18. Language And Symbolism:.
The Evolution Of Language.
Art In Prehistory.
19. New Worlds, Old Worlds:.
The First Villagers.
The Human Evolutionary Heritage.