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Human Paleobiology


Part of Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology

  • Date Published: December 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521123853

£ 45.99

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About the Authors
  • Human Paleobiology provides a unifying framework for the study of human populations, both past and present, to a range of changing environments. It integrates evidence from studies of human adaptability, comparative primatology, and molecular genetics to document consistent measures of genetic distance between subspecies, species and other taxonomic groupings. These findings support the interpretation of the biology of humans in terms of a smaller number of populations characterised by higher levels of genetic continuity than previously hypothesised. Using this as a basis, Robert Eckhardt then goes on to analyse problems in human paleobiology including phenotypic differentiation, patterns of species range expansion and phyletic succession in terms of the patterns and processes still observable in extant populations. This book will be a challenging and stimulating read for students and researchers interested in human paleobiology or evolutionary anthropology.

    • Uses historical context for understanding topical controversies about the interpretation of past human evolution
    • Emphasises phenotypic features rather than complex taxonomy, allowing evolution to be understood in concrete physical terms instead of abstractions of nomenclature
    • Integrates molecular evidence with studies on human adaptability and comparative primatology to give holistic view of the subject
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '… in this seminal text, he certainly succeeds in establishing the framework by which biological anthropologists, and particularly palaeoanthropologists, can gain more useful insights from our fossilised past.' The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521123853
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.54kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Palaeobiology: present perspectives on the past
    2. Constancy and change: taxonomic uncertainty in a probabilistic world
    3. A century of fossils
    4. About a century of theory
    5. Human adaptability present and past
    6. Primate patterns of diversity and adaptation
    7. Hominid phylogeny: morphological and molecular measures of diversity
    8. Plio-Pleistocene hominids: the paleobiology of fragmented populations
    9. Character state velocity in the emergence of more advanced hominids
    11. Paleobiological perspectives on modern human origins
    12. The future of the past

  • Author

    Robert B. Eckhardt, Pennsylvania State University

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