Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology 

The First Americans: Race, Evolution and the Origin of Native Americans

By: Joseph Powell

250 pages, 24 line diagrams 7 half-tones 4 tables

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Oct 2005 | #152590 | ISBN: 0521530350
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NHBS Price: £28.99 $38/€33 approx
Hardback | Oct 2005 | #152589 | ISBN: 0521823501
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About this book

Who were the first Americans? What is their relationship to living native peoples in the Americas? What do their remains tell us of the current concepts of racial variation, and short-term evolutionary change and adaptation. The recent discoveries in the Americas of the 9000-12000 year old skeletons such as `Kennewick Man' in Washington State, `Luzia' in Brazil and `Prince of Wales Island Man' in Alaska have begun to challenge our understanding of who first entered the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age. New archaeological and geological research is beginning to change the hypothesis of land bridge crossings and the extinction of ancient animals. The First Americans explores these questions by using racial classifications and microevolutionary techniques to better understand who colonized the Americas and how. It will be required reading for all those interested in anthropology, and the history and archaeology of the earliest Americans.

' ... an interesting and provocative standpoint and an enrichment of the general debate.' Journal of Comparative Human Biology


Prologue: The Kennewick Controversy; Part I. Race and Variation: 1. Debating the origins of Native Americans; 2. A brief history of race; 3. Evolutionary approaches to human variation; 4. Recent population variation in the Americas; Part II. The Pleistocene Peopling of America: 5. The Pleistocene and Ice-Age environments; 6. Ancient cultures and migration to the Americas; 7. Kennewick Man and his contemporaries; 8. Human variation in the Pleistocene; Part III. The First Americans, Race and Evolution: 9. Racial models of Native American origins; 10. Evolutionary models of Native American origins; 11. The first Americans: Native American origins; Bibliography.

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Joseph Powell is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He has published extensively on the skeletal and dental remains of Paleoindian peoples, and was a lead scientist for the US Federal government investigation of the 'Kennewick Man' skeleton.

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