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See below for a selection of the latest books from Early man category. Presented with a red border are the Early man books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Early man books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
In the only book to date to explore the period between the 1859 publication of Darwin's Origin of Species and the discovery in 1900 of Gregor Mendel's experiments in genetics, John S. Haller, Jr., shows the relationship between scientific conviction and public policy. He focuses on the numerous liberally educated American scientists who were caught up in the triumph of evolutionary ideas and who sought to apply those ideas to comparative morality, health, and the physiognomy of nonwhite races. During this period, the natural and social scientists of the day not only accepted without question the genetic and cultural superiority of the Caucasian; they also asserted that the Caucasian race held a monopoly on evolutionary progress, arguing that inferior races were no more than evolutionary survivors doomed by their genetic legacy to remain outcasts from evolution. Hereditarians and evolutionists believed that less fit human races were perishing from the rigors of civilization's struggle and competition. Indeed, racial inferiority lay at the very foundation of the evolutionary framework and, remaining there, rose to the pinnacle of truth with the myth of scientific certainty.
The study of human evolution is advancing rapidly. Newly discovered fossil evidence is adding ever more pieces to the puzzle of our past, whilst revolutionary technological advances in the study of ancient DNA are completely reshaping theories of early human populations and migrations. In this Very Short Introduction Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the very latest fossil finds. In this new edition he discusses how Ancient DNA studies have revolutionized how we view the recent (post-550 ka) human evolution, and the process of speciation. The combination of ancient and modern human DNA has contributed to discoveries of new taxa, as well as the suggestion of 'ghost' taxa whose fossil records still remain to be discovered. Considering the contributions of related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology, Wood explores our latest understandings of our own evolution. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Hunter-gatherer lifestyles defined the origins of modern humans and for tens of thousands of years were the only form of subsistence our species knew. This changed with the advent of food production, which occurred at different times throughout the world. The chapters in this volume explore the different ways that hunter-gatherer societies around the world adapted to changing social and ecological circumstances while still maintaining a predominantly hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Couched specifically within the framework of resilience theory, the authors use contextualized bioarchaeological analyses of health, diet, mobility, and funerary practices to explore how hunter-gatherers responded to challenges and actively resisted change that diminished the core of their social identity and worldview.
The astonishing new story of human origins Was Darwin wrong when he traced our origins to Africa? The Real Planet of the Apes makes the explosive claim that it was in Europe, not Africa, where apes evolved the most important hallmarks of our human lineage. In this compelling and accessible book, David Begun, one of the world's leading paleoanthropologists, transports readers to an epoch in the remote past when the Earth was home to many migratory populations of ape species. Begun draws on the latest astonishing discoveries in the fossil record, as well as his own experiences conducting field expeditions, to offer a sweeping evolutionary history of great apes and humans. He tells the story of how one of the earliest members of our evolutionary group evolved from lemur-like monkeys in the primeval forests of Africa. Begun then vividly describes how, over the next ten million years, these hominoids expanded into Europe and Asia and evolved climbing and hanging adaptations, longer maturation times, and larger brains. As the climate deteriorated in Europe, these apes either died out or migrated south, reinvading the African continent and giving rise to the lineages of African great apes, and, ultimately, humans. Presenting startling new insights, The Real Planet of the Apes fundamentally alters our understanding of human origins.
Down from the Trees: Man's Amazing Transition from Tree-Dwelling Ape Ancestors covers the evolution of man from tree-dwelling ape to Homo sapiens as he is today. Using easy-to-read language, the author takes complex, jargon-filled material and extracts the essence of the topic and coveys it in a clear and engaging manner. He approaches the subject of human evolution from three different disciplines: fossil evidence and its interpretation, evolutionary theory and its applicability, and genetic evidence and its ability to unlock prehistoric information. The third discipline has advanced unbelievably in the last few years, and this book includes the most up-to-date research. There is nothing more interesting to humans than the story of their origins. The evolutionary process of a tree-dwelling ape becoming a walking, talking man who has developed the technology to walk on the moon, transplant hearts, or modify living things is no trivial story. This book provides a fascinating and comprehensive view of what science has learned of human evolution.
Where do our images about early hominids come from? In this fascinating in-depth study, David Van Reybrouck demonstrates how input from ethnography and primatology has deeply influenced our visions about the past from the 19th century to this day - often far beyond the available evidence. Victorian scholars were keen to look at contemporary Australian and Tasmanian aboriginals to understand the enigmatic Neanderthal fossils. Likewise, today's primatologists debate to what extent bonobos, baboons or chimps may be regarded as stand-ins for early human ancestors. The belief that the contemporary world provides 'living links' still goes strong. Such primate models, Van Reybrouck argues, continue the highly problematic 'comparative method' of the Victorian times. He goes on to show how the field of ethnoarchaeology has succeeded in circumventing the major pitfalls of such analogical reasoning. A truly interdisciplinary study, this work shows how scholars working in different fields can effectively improve their methods for interpreting the deep past by understanding the historical challenges of adjacent disciplines. Overviewing two centuries of intellectual debate in fields as diverse as archaeology, ethnography and primatology, Van Reybrouck's book is one long plea for trying to understand the past on its own terms, rather than as facile projections from the present. David Van Reybrouck (Bruges, 1971) was trained as an archaeologist at the universities of Leuven, Cambridge and Leiden. Before becoming a highly successful literary author (The Plague, Mission, Congo...), he worked as a historian of ideas. For more than twelve years, he was coeditor of Archaeological Dialogues. In 2011-12, he held the prestigious Cleveringa Chair at the University of Leiden.
Was Darwin wrong when he traced our origins to Africa? The Real Planet of the Apes makes the explosive claim that it was in Europe, not Africa, where apes evolved the most important hallmarks of our human lineage--such as dexterous hands and larger brains. In this compelling and accessible book, David Begun, one of the world's leading paleoanthropologists, transports readers to an epoch in the remote past when the Earth was home to many migratory populations of ape species. Drawing on the latest astonishing discoveries in the fossil record as well as his own experiences conducting field expeditions across Europe and Asia, Begun provides a sweeping evolutionary history of great apes and humans. He tells the story of how one of the earliest members of our evolutionary group--a new kind of primate called Proconsul--evolved from lemur-like monkeys in the primeval forests of Africa. Begun vividly describes how, over the next 10 million years, these hominoids expanded into Europe and Asia and evolved climbing and hanging adaptations, longer maturation times, and larger brains, setting the stage for the emergence of humans. As the climate deteriorated in Europe around 10 million years ago, these apes either died out or migrated south, reinvading the African continent and giving rise to the lineages of the gorilla, chimpanzee, and, ultimately, the human. Presenting startling new insights about our fossil ape ancestors, The Real Planet of the Apes is a book that fundamentally alters our understanding of human origins.
For too long the Neanderthals have been seen as dim-witted evolutionary dead-enders who looked and behaved completely differently from us, but their story has been transformed thanks to new discoveries and advances in scientific techniques. This book takes a look at the whole story of the Neanderthals.
This pioneering volume summarizes the results of diverse research on Pleistocene environments and the cultural and biological evolution of man in Africa. The book includes chapters on Pleistocene stratigraphy and climatic changes throughout the African continent; on the ecology, biology and sociology of African primate and human populations. Contributors include: C. Arambourg, P. Biberson, W. W. Bishop, Geoffrey Bond, F. Bourliere, Karl W. Butzer, Desmond Clark, H. B. S. Cooke, Irven DeVore, John T. Emlen, A. T. Grove, J. de Heinzelin, J. Hiernaux, Clark Howell, L. S. B. Leakey, I. Liben, T. Monod, R. F. Moreau, R. A. pullan, J. T. Robinson, George B. Schaller, S. L. Washburn. Originally published in 1964.
Thin on the Ground: Neandertal Biology, Archeology and Ecology synthesizes the current knowledge about our sister species the Neandertals, combining data from a variety of disciplines to reach a cohesive theory behind Neandertal low population densities and relatively low rate of technological innovation. The book highlights and contrasts the differences between Neandertals and early modern humans and explores the morphological, physiological, and behavioral adaptive solutions which led to the extinction of the Neandertals and the population expansion of modern humans. Written by a world recognized expert in physical anthropology, Thin on the Ground: Neandertal Biology, Archaeology and Ecology will be a must have title for anyone interested in the rise and fall of the Neandertals.