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An Ape's View of Human Evolution

By: Peter Andrews(Author)

309 pages, 4 plates with colour photos and colour illustrations; 110 b/w photos and illustrations, 4 tables

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | Jan 2016 | #223140 | ISBN-13: 9781107100671
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £30.99 $41/€35 approx

About this book

Our closest living relatives are the chimpanzee and bonobo. We share many characteristics with them, but our lineages diverged millions of years ago. Who in fact was our last common ancestor? Bringing together ecology, evolution, genetics, anatomy and geology, An Ape's View of Human Evolution provides a new perspective on human evolution. What can fossil apes tell us about the origins of human evolution? Did the last common ancestor of apes and humans live in trees or on the ground? What did it eat, and how did it survive in a world full of large predators? Did it look anything like living apes? Andrews addresses these questions and more to reconstruct the common ancestor and its habitat. Synthesising thirty-five years of work on both ancient environments and fossil and modern ape anatomy, An Ape's View of Human Evolution provides unique new insights into the evolutionary processes that led to the origins of the human lineage.

"In this well-illustrated and cogently argued book, [...] Peter Andrews brings all the evidence together – morphology, behaviour, genetics and palaeoenvironments – to take a fresh look at where we and the extant apes came from, and in doing so he builds a fresh and provocative model of what our common ancestor really looked like."
– Chris Stringer, Natural History Museum, UK

"This book is a rigorous and insightful explanation of hominid evolution from the early Miocene onwards, providing readers with the theoretical and interpretive tools necessary for thinking independently about the subject – this will benefit not just students, but those of us already engaged professionally with the discipline. [...] It will replace any advanced teaching or reference text that you've previously considered an indispensable resource!"
– Kris Kovarovic, Durham University, UK

"Ape evolution extends back in time more than 20 million years earlier than that of humans, with a more diverse array of species. Yet, there has not been a single book dedicated to interpreting that rich fossil record, in itself or with respect to the emergence of humans. An Apes View of Human Evolution by Peter Andrews now fills that void. [...] both a guide to the record of ape evolution leading to the emergence of humans as well as a captivating personal narrative of exploration."
– Jay Kelley, Arizona State University, USA


1. How can we recognise common ancestors?

Part I. Apes – Their Morphology and Behaviour:
2. Morphology and behaviour of living apes
3. Human and ape phylogenies
4. Review of fossil apes

Part II. Environments and Palaeoenvironments:
5. Structure and composition of ape environments
6. Environmental indicators

Part III. Review of Fossil Apes – Morphology and Environment:
7. The view from the Early Miocene
8. The environment in the Early Miocene
9. The view from the Middle Miocene
10. Specialised apes from the Middle Miocene
11. The environment in the middle Miocene
12. A second view from Europe
13. The environment in Europe
14. Late Miocene to Pleistocene apes
15. Apes, hominins and environment in the Late Miocene

Part IV. Last Common Ancestor:
16. Putting together the evidence
17. An ape's view of human evolution

References and further reading

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Peter Andrews has always had a keen interest in fossils, and an encounter with Dr L. S. B. Leakey while working in the Kenya Forestry Department encouraged him to make the move to anthropology. He has spent much of his career at the Natural History Museum, London, where he was Head of Human Origins until his retirement in 2000. Since then he has been curator of Blandford Museum while retaining an Emeritus Research Associate position at the Natural History Museum along with honorary professorships at University College London and the University of York. He has published ten books, two with Chris Stringer, and nearly 200 articles in the scientific and popular press.

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