Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

Download Ebook Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

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Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

Download Ebook Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

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Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction, by Bernard Wood

The recent discovery of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (nicknamed “the Hobbit”) in Indonesia has sparked new interest in the study of human evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned evolutionary scholar Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to today’s latest fossil finds. Along the way we are introduced to the lively cast of characters, past and present, involved in evolutionary research. Although concentrating on the fossil evidence for human evolution, the book also covers the latest genetic evidence about regional variations in the modern human genome that relate to our evolutionary history. Wood draws on over thirty years of experience to provide an insiders view of the field, and demonstrates that our understanding of human evolution is critically dependent on advances in related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology. This is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the origins and development of humankind.

  • Sales Rank: #276915 in Books
  • Published on: 2006-01-12
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 4.40″ h x .60″ w x 6.80″ l, .26 pounds
  • Binding: Paperback
  • 131 pages

About the Author

Bernard Wood is Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution.

Most helpful customer reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful.
Short, detailed and small.
By Michael Valdivielso
Human Evolution by Bernard Wood is just the facts and only the facts. At 131 pages this is all the updated information about human related fossils, up to the year 2005, and the debates about what they mean.

The book starts out explaining about the Tree Of Life, what fossils are, how they are found and how they are used as evidence. Everything is clear and crisp, Mr. Wood treats the reader to a lesson in paleoanthropology, without moving too swiftly but without talking down to the reader. Can be finished in a day or two, no problem.

Great for people new to the subject or as a small guide for those on the go.

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
The biology of human evolution
By Dr. H. A. Jones
Though this is another admirable publication in Oxford’s Very Short Introduction series, generally intended for readership by non-specialists, the degree of biological detail here make this more suitable for undergraduate biologists with an interest in paleoanthropology. The author is himself a medically qualified paleoanthropologist, a Professor of Human Origins at the George Washington University in America, so there is much, perhaps necessarily, anatomical detail about the fossil human remains that have been unearthed.

After an introduction that takes us from biblical accounts of our origins, through the work of Vesalius, Lamarck, Darwin, Huxley, Lyell and Mendel, right up to Watson and Crick and the human genome project, we are treated to a discussion of the biological differentiation of humans (hominins) and panins, gorillas and orang-utans – our genetic similarities and anatomical differences.

There are details of oxygen isotope measurement as a guide to past climates; methods of dating fossils and the sediments or rocks in which they are found; and how the age and sex of hominins is determined from the skeletal fragments that anthropologists usually have to be content with. The author points out that while `modern humans have a substantial fossil record . . . the fossil record for chimpanzees [our genetically nearest animal relatives] is virtually non-existent.’ So the story is largely one of intelligent piecing together of our ancestry from what remains there are.

It was Darwin who first suggested that, as we are probably related to the apes and they exist largely in Africa, this would be a good place to start looking for human remains. Modern biologists tell us that indeed we did, in the beginning, `come out of Africa’.

This is a well-written book full of fascinating, if at times a little overwhelming, detail. The book about Evolution in general by the Charlesworths in the same series is more accessible to the non-specialist.

Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful.
Very Good Introduction
By Brian Siegel
Valdivielso’s review has it right. This is a tightly and carefully organized summary, and it requires careful reading. In addition, each chapter ends with a valuable “Points to Watch,” which alert readers to on-going debates and uncertainties. Bravo!

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