Plasticity refers to the ability of many organisms to change their biology or behaviour to respond to changes in the environment, particularly when these are stressful. Humans are, perhaps, the most plastic of all species, and hence the most variable. This book reflects on the history of research in this area, state-of-the-art research methods and discoveries and needs for future research in human plasticity and variability. Topics discussed include child growth, starvation, disease of both young and old and the effects of migration, modernisation and other life-style changes. The book will be especially useful to biological anthropologists, human biologists and medical scientists interested in knowing more about how and why humans vary.
Foreword G. A. Harrison; Introduction B. Bogin and C. G. N. Mascie-Taylor; 1. The pervasiveness of plasticity D. F. Roberts; 2. Plasticity in early development D. J. Pritchard; 3. Plasticity in the growth of Mayan refugee children living in the United States B. Bogin; 4. The place of plasticity in the study of the secular trend for male stature J. L. Boldsen; 5. Plasticity, growth and energy balance S. J. Ulijaszek; 6. The study of migrants as a strategy for understanding human biological plasticity G. W. Lasker; 7. Human migration: effects on people, effects on populations G. Coleman; 8. The use of surnames in the study of human variation and plasticity John H. Relethford; 9. A biological anthropological approach to measuring societal stress of parasitic disease - a case study of Schistosomiasis C. G. N. Mascie-Taylor and G. E. H. Mohamed; 10. Biological adaptability, plasticity and disease: patterns in modernising societies R. M. Garruto; 11. Human biological adaptability with special emphasis on plasticity: history, development and problems for future research L. M. Schell; Index.