319 pages, 56 b/w illustrations, 3 maps, 6 tables
In this innovative, wide-ranging synthesis of anthropology and biogeography, Alexander Harcourt tells how and why our species came to be distributed around the world. He explains our current understanding of human origins, tells how climate determined our spread, and describes the barriers that delayed and directed migrating people. He explores the rich and complex ways in which our anatomy, physiology, cultural diversity, and population density vary from region to region in the areas we inhabit.
Human Biogeography closes with chapters on how human cultures have affected each other's geographic distributions, how non-human species have influenced human distribution, and how humans have reduced the ranges of many other species while increasing the ranges of others. Throughout, Harcourt compares what we understand of human biogeography to non-human primate biogeography.
"A remarkable achievement. The book firmly establishes its subject as an important discipline bridging the social and biological sciences. By bringing together such a vast corpus of analytical results, it will undoubtedly attract more attention to the field."
– Science (AAAS)
"Harcourt achieves his objective of bridging the gap between biogeography and anthropology [...] Human Biogeography represents a valuable contribution to the complex science that links biology, ecology, and culture in an attempt to understand where and why humans do what they do."
– William E. Banks, Qtly Review Of Biology
"A splendid achievement [...] Constitutes an accessible, data-rich assessment of biogeography."
– G. A. Clark, American Journal of Anthropology
"Human Biogeography, is an outstanding publication that serves as an unrivaled synthesis and nexus of two disciplines – human diversity and biogeography."
– Mark Lomolino, co-author of Biogeography
"This is the first book to explain and illustrate what human biogeography is all about. Moreover, Human Biogeography gives us a highly persuasive demonstration that anyone looking for answers about our diversity as a species and our impact on the planet must take biogeography into account. An outstanding work of scholarship supported by an immense depth and breadth of knowledge."
– John Edward Terrell, Regenstein Curator of Pacific Anthropology, Field Museum of Natural History
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Alexander H. Harcourt is Professor Emeritus in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Davis. He is the coauthor of Gorilla Society and coeditor of Coalitions and Alliances in Humans and Other Animals.