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African Genesis: Perspectives on Hominin Evolution

  • Presents an overview of key concepts in the study of human evolution
  • Provides a summary of the state-of-the-art developments and new approaches in the discipline
  • Historical perspective shows how palaeoanthropology had developed over the last 80+ years

Series: Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology Volume: 62

By: Sally C Reynolds(Editor), Andrew Gallagher(Editor), JT Francis Thackeray(Foreword By)

582 pages, 6 colour plates, 125 b/w photos and illustrations, 41 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Oct 2014 | #214962 | ISBN-13: 9781107454507
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £34.99 $45/€39 approx
Hardback | Mar 2012 | #194622 | ISBN-13: 9781107019959
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £97.99 $125/€109 approx

About this book

The discovery of the first species of African hominin, Australopithecus africanus, from Taung, South Africa in 1925, launched the study of fossil man in Africa. New discoveries continue to confirm the importance of this region to our understanding of human evolution. Outlining major developments since Raymond Dart's description of the Taung skull and, in particular, the impact of the pioneering work of Phillip V. Tobias, African Genesis will be a valuable companion for students and researchers of human origins. It presents a summary of the current state of palaeoanthropology, reviewing the ideas that are central to the field, and provides a perspective on how future developments will shape our knowledge about hominin emergence in Africa. A wide range of key themes are covered, from the earliest fossils from Chad and Kenya, to the origins of bipedalism and the debate about how and where modern humans evolved and dispersed across Africa.

"African Genesis is a good contribution to the paleoanthropological literature and it will undoubtedly find its way into many university libraries."
- Jeremy M. DeSilva, American Journal of Human Biology


List of contributors
Foreword J. T. Francis Thackeray

1. African genesis: an evolving paradigm Sally C. Reynolds
2. Academic genealogy Peter Ungar and Phillip V. Tobias

Part I. In Search of Origins: Evolutionary Theory, New Species, and Paths into the Past
3. Speciation in hominin evolution Colin Groves
4. Searching for a new paradigm for hominid origins in Chad (Central Africa) Michel Brunet
5. From hominoid arboreality to hominid bipedalism Brigitte Senut
6. Orrorin and the African ape/hominid dichotomy Martin Pickford
7. A brief history and results of 40 years of Sterkfontein excavations Ronald J. Clarke

Part II. Hominin Morphology Through Time: Brains, Bodies and Teeth
8. Hominin brain evolution, 1925-2011: an emerging overview Dean Falk
9. The issue of brain reorganisation in Australopithecus and early hominids: Dart had it right Ralph L. Holloway
10. The mass of the human brain: is it a spandrel? Paul R. Manger, Jason Hemingway, Muhammad Spocter and Andrew Gallagher
11. Origin and diversity of early hominin bipedalism Henry M. McHenry
12. Forelimb adaptations in Australopithecus afarensis Michelle S. M. Drapeau
13. Hominin proximal femur morphology from the Tugen Hills to Flores Brian G. Richmond and William L. Jungers
14. Daily rates of dentine formation and root extension rates in Paranthropus boisei, KNM-ER 1817, from Koobi Fora, Kenya M. Christopher Dean
15. On the evolutionary development of early hominid molar teeth and the Gondolin Paranthropus molar Kevin L. Kuykendall
16. Digital South African fossils: morphological studies using reference-based reconstruction and electronic preparation Gerhard W. Weber, Philipp Gunz, Simon Neubauer, Philipp Mitteroecker and Fred L. Bookstein

Part III. Modern Human Origins: Patterns, and Processes
17. Body size in African Middle Pleistocene Homo Steven E. Churchill, Lee R. Berger, Adam Hartstone-Rose and Headman Zondo
18. The African origin of recent humanity Milford H. Wolpoff and Sang-Hee Lee
19. Assimilation and modern human origins in the African peripheries Fred H. Smith, Vance T. Hutchinson and Ivor Jankovic
20. Patterns of Middle Pleistocene hominin evolution in Africa and the emergence of modern humans Emma Mbua and G#nter Br#uer
21. Integration of the genetic, anatomical, and archaeological data for the African origin of modern humans: problems and prospects Osbjorn M. Pearson

Part IV. In Search of Context: Hominin Environments, Behaviour and Lithic Cultures
22. Animal palaeocommunity variability and habitat preference of robust australopiths in South Africa Darryl J. de Ruiter, Matt Sponheimer and Julia Lee-Thorp
23. Impacts of environmental change and community ecology on the composition and diversity of the southern African monkey fauna from the Plio-Pleistocene to the present Sarah Elton
24. African genesis revisited: reflections on Raymond Dart and the 'Predatory Transition from Ape(-Man) to Man' Travis R. Pickering
25. Shared intention in early artefacts: an exploration of deep structure and implications for communication and language John A. J. Gowlett
26. Sibudu Cave: recent archaeological work on the Middle Stone Age Lyn Wadley
27. The oldest burials and their significance Avraham Ronen


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Sally C. Reynolds is an honorary research staff member of the Institute for Human Evolution, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and Liverpool John Moores University, UK. She conducts research on the world-famous Sterkfontein Cave fossils and is interested in the relationships between geomorphology, mosaic habitats and extinction in hominins.

Andrew Gallagher is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Johannesburg. His principal research focuses on the evolutionary significance of size variation in hominin evolution and the functional morphology of the locomotor system.

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