Human social life is constrained and defined by our cognitive and emotional dispositions, which are the legacy of our foraging ancestors. But how difficult is it to reconstruct the social systems and cultural traditions of those ancestors?
Author: Stephen Shennan
Human social life is constrained and defined by our cognitive and emotional dispositions, which are the legacy of our foraging ancestors. But how difficult is it to reconstruct the social systems and cultural traditions of those ancestors? The Archaeology of Human Ancestry provides a stimulating and provocative answer, in which archaeologists and biological anthropologists set out and demonstrate their reconstructive methods. Contributors use observations of primates and modern hunter-gatherers to illuminate the fossil and artefactual records. Thematic treatment covers the evolution of group size; group composition and the emotional structure of social bonds; sexual dimorphism and the sexual division of labour; and the origins of human cultural traditions. The Archaeology of Human Ancestry is an essential introduction to the subject for advanced undergraduates and researchers in archaeology and biological anthropology. It will also be used by workers in psychology, sociology and feminist studies as a resource for understanding human social origins.
Devoting equal time to biological anthropology and prehistory, this text exposes students to the many sides of major controversial issues, involving students in the scientific thought process by allowing them to draw their own conclusions.
Author: Patricia C. Rice
Category: Social Science
Written specifically for courses that cover biological anthropology and archaeology, this superbly illustrated new text offers the most balanced and up-to-date introduction to our human past. Devoting equal time to biological anthropology and prehistory, this text exposes students to the many sides of major controversial issues, involving students in the scientific thought process by allowing them to draw their own conclusions. Amidst discussions of bones and artifacts, the text maintains a focus on people, demonstrating to students how biological anthropology and archaeology apply to their lives today. Featuring the latest research and findings pulled from the original sources, this new text is far and away the most up-to-date text available. In addition, the superior art program features hundreds of photographs and figures, and the multimedia presentation options include documentary film clips and lecture launcher videos. Pat Rice, a recipient of AAA’s Outstanding Teacher Award and past-president of the General Anthropology Division of AAA, and Norah Moloney, an experienced professor and active archaeologist, present the material in a clear, refreshing, and straightforward writing style.
The book examines how our understanding of human creativity can be extended by exploring this phenomenon during human evolution and prehistory.
Author: Steven Mithen
We live in a world surrounded by remarkable cultural achievements of human kind. Almost every day we hear of new innovations in technology, in medicine and in the arts which remind us that humans are capable of remarkable creativity. But what is human creativity? The modern world provides a tiny fraction of cultural diversity and the evidence for human creativity, far more can be seen by looking back into prehistory. The book examines how our understanding of human creativity can be extended by exploring this phenomenon during human evolution and prehistory. The book offers unique perspectives on the nature of human creativity from archaeologists who are concerned with long term patterns of cultural change and have access to quite different types of human behaviour than that which exists today. It asks whether humans are the only creative species, or whether our extinct relatives such as Homo habilis and the Neanderthals also displayed creative thinking. It explores what we can learn about the nature of human creativity from cultural developments during prehistory, such as changes in the manner in which the dead were buried, monuments constructed, and the natural world exploited. In doing so, new light is thrown on these cultural developments and the behaviour of our prehistoric ancestors. By examining the nature of creativity during human evolution and prehistory these archaeologists, supported by contributions from psychology, computer science and social anthropology, show that human creativity is a far more diverse and complex phenomena than simply flashes of genius by isolated individuals. Indeed they show that unless perspectives from prehistory are taken into account, our understanding of human creativity will be limited and incomplete.
This volume investigates the evolutionary origins of our musical abilities, the nature of music, and the earliest archaeological evidence for musical activities amongst our ancestors.
Author: Iain Morley
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This volume investigates the evolutionary origins of our musical abilities, the nature of music, and the earliest archaeological evidence for musical activities amongst our ancestors. It seeks to understand the relationship between our musical capabilities and the development of our social, emotional, and communicative abilities as a species.
This volume explores in a global overview the archaeology of the Middle Pleistocene, 800,000 to 130,000 years ago when evidence for innovative cultural behaviour appeared.
Author: Matt Pope
Category: Social Science
When was the human threshold crossed? What is the evidence for evolving humans and their emerging humanity? This volume explores in a global overview the archaeology of the Middle Pleistocene, 800,000 to 130,000 years ago when evidence for innovative cultural behaviour appeared. The evidence shows that the threshold was crossed slowly, by a variety of human ancestors, and was not confined to one part of the Old World. Crossing the Human Threshold examines the changing evidence during this period for the use of place, landscape and technology. It focuses on the emergence of persistent places, and associated developments in tool use, hunting strategies and the control of fire, represented across the Old World by deeply stratified cave sites. These include the most important sites for the archaeology of human origins in the Levant, South Africa, Asia and Europe, presented here as evidence for innovation in landscape-thinking during the Middle Pleistocene. The volume also examines persistence at open locales through a cutting-edge review of the archaeology of Northern France and England. Crossing the Human Threshold is for the worldwide community of students and researchers studying early hominins and human evolution. It presents new archaeological data. It frames the evidence within current debates to understand the differences and similarities between ourselves and our ancient ancestors.
Given these inherent deficits, how did humans come out on top? In this fascinating new account of our origins, leading archaeologist Timothy Taylor proposes a new way of thinking about human evolution through our relationship with objects.
Author: Timothy Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
A breakthrough theory that tools and technology are the real drivers of human evolution Although humans are one of the great apes, along with chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, we are remarkably different from them. Unlike our cousins who subsist on raw food, spend their days and nights outdoors, and wear a thick coat of hair, humans are entirely dependent on artificial things, such as clothing, shelter, and the use of tools, and would die in nature without them. Yet, despite our status as the weakest ape, we are the masters of this planet. Given these inherent deficits, how did humans come out on top? In this fascinating new account of our origins, leading archaeologist Timothy Taylor proposes a new way of thinking about human evolution through our relationship with objects. Drawing on the latest fossil evidence, Taylor argues that at each step of our species' development, humans made choices that caused us to assume greater control of our evolution. Our appropriation of objects allowed us to walk upright, lose our body hair, and grow significantly larger brains. As we push the frontiers of scientific technology, creating prosthetics, intelligent implants, and artificially modified genes, we continue a process that started in the prehistoric past, when we first began to extend our powers through objects. Weaving together lively discussions of major discoveries of human skeletons and artifacts with a reexamination of Darwin's theory of evolution, Taylor takes us on an exciting and challenging journey that begins to answer the fundamental question about our existence: what makes humans unique, and what does that mean for our future?
This book is published in honour of Professor Peter Ucko, who has played an unparalleled role in promoting awareness of the core issues in this volume among archaeologists.
Author: Robert Layton
Publisher: Psychology Press
Over the last thirty years issues of culture, identity and meaning have moved out of the academic sphere to become central to politics and society at all levels from the local to the global. Archaeology has been at the forefront of these moves towards a greater engagement with the non-academic world, often in an extremely practical and direct way, for example in the disputes about the repatriation of human burials. Such disputes have been central to the recognition that previously marginalised groups have rights in their own past which are important for their future. The essays in this book look back at some of the most important events where a role for an archaeology concerned with the past in the present first emerged and look forward to the practical and theoretical issues now central to a socially engaged discipline and shaping its future. This book is published in honour of Professor Peter Ucko, who has played an unparalleled role in promoting awareness of the core issues in this volume among archaeologists.
Author: Camilo J. Cela-CondePublish On: 2007-09-27
This book is intended as a comprehensive overview of hominid evolution, synthesising data and approaches from physical anthropology, genetics, archaeology, psychology and philosophy.
Author: Camilo J. Cela-Conde
Publisher: Oxford University Press
This book is intended as a comprehensive overview of hominid evolution, synthesising data and approaches from physical anthropology, genetics, archaeology, psychology and philosophy. Human evolution courses are now widespread and this book has the potential to satisfy the requirements of most, particularly at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level. It is based on a translation, albeit with substantial modification, of a successful Spanish language book.
A compendium of the most up-to-date and fascinating information in human evolution, this guide also equips readers with the skills to question and critically evaluate the field as it changes in the future.
Author: John H. Relethford
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
50 Great Myths of Human Evolution uses common misconceptions to explore basic theory and research in human evolution and strengthen critical thinking skills for lay readers and students. Examines intriguing—yet widely misunderstood—topics, from general ideas about evolution and human origins to the evolution of modern humans and recent trends in the field Describes what fossils, archaeology, and genetics can tell us about human origins Demonstrates the ways in which science adapts and changes over time to incorporate new evidence and better explanations Includes myths such as “Humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs;” “Lucy was so small because she was a child;” “Our ancestors have always made fire;” and “There is a strong relationship between brain size and intelligence” Comprised of stand-alone essays that are perfect for casual reading, as well as footnotes and references that allow readers to delve more deeply into topics
This text is intended for the introductory courses that concentrate on physical anthropology and prehistoric archaeology. This book offers a comprehensive and balanced presentation on views of the human evolution and prehistory.
Author: William A. Haviland
Publisher: Harcourt College Pub
Category: Social Science
This text is intended for the introductory courses that concentrate on physical anthropology and prehistoric archaeology. This book offers a comprehensive and balanced presentation on views of the human evolution and prehistory. It focuses on selected aspects of physical anthropology and prehistoric archaeology as they relate to the origin of humanity, the origin of culture, and the development of human biological and cultural diversity.
This book is not a rejection of modernity. Neither is it a call to reject towns and seek solace in a rural idyll, nor another celebrity-endorsed fad diet or exercise programme.
Author: Gustav Milne
Publisher: Crown House Publishing Ltd
In Uncivilised Genes: Human Evolution and the Urban Paradox, Gustav Milne explores how we can reconfigure our lifestyles and urban environments, based on an understanding of our prehistoric past, in order to bring about a richer future for mankind. We evolved as hunter-gatherers over a period of more than three million years: living off the land within small tribal societies in a symbiotic working relationship with nature. Understanding this legacy and how our evolution has determined our social, psychological, nutritional and physiological needs means we can adopt what Milne has termed evolutionary-concordant behaviours: behaviours designed to reconcile the fundamental mismatch between our current urban lifestyles and our ancient biology. Our ancestral diets and lifestyles could hold the secret not only to enhancing our health and happiness but also to combating the prevalence of western lifestyle diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer to name but a few. Milne expertly evaluates these challenges - along with many other issues pertinent to our urban wellbeing - and proposes solutions within our reach, including adaptations to our dietary regimes, lifestyle-embedded activities and school and university curriculums, and a re-engineering of our built environment to better suit our needs. Drawing on what archaeological evidence reveals about Palaeolithic and Mesolithic diets, as well as on anthropological studies of contemporary hunter-gatherer societies, Uncivilised Genes offers timely insights to enhance our collective and individual health and prosperity. It also shines a spotlight on the evolutionary determinants of social behaviour, and looks at how we can bridge the gap between the world we are creating and the un-urbanised, uncivilised world to which we are genetically and psychologically better adapted. This book is not a rejection of modernity. Neither is it a call to reject towns and seek solace in a rural idyll, nor another celebrity-endorsed fad diet or exercise programme. Rather, it is a comprehensive chronicle of the myriad factors that continue to contribute to our societal and personal wellbeing, and a broad-ranging blueprint for a richer future more in tune with our basic physiology, psychology, metabolism and mindset. Essential reading for anyone interested in living a healthier, more evolutionary-concordant life. Contents include: 1. In the Beginning; 2. Genesis; 3. A View of the Garden; 4. A Hunger Game; 5. Food for Thought; 6. Body of Evidence; 7. A Life Less Sedentary; 8. Lost Tribes; 9. Hunter-Gatherer vs. Football-Shopper; 10. Music and Words; 11. Green and Pleasant; 12. Central Park; 13. Old Town; 14. Urban Regeneration; 15. Revelations.
Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition will be of interest to Paleolithic archaeologists and paleoanthropologists interested in stone tool technology and cognitive evolution.
Author: April Nowell
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Category: Social Science
Stone tools are the most durable and common type of archaeological remain and one of the most important sources of information about behaviors of early hominins. Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition develops methods for examining questions of cognition, demonstrating the progression of mental capabilities from early hominins to modern humans through the archaeological record. Dating as far back as 2.5-2.7 million years ago, stone tools were used in cutting up animals, woodworking, and preparing vegetable matter. Today, lithic remains give archaeologists insight into the forethought, planning, and enhanced working memory of our early ancestors. Contributors focus on multiple ways in which archaeologists can investigate the relationship between tools and the evolving human mind-including joint attention, pattern recognition, memory usage, and the emergence of language. Offering a wide range of approaches and diversity of place and time, the chapters address issues such as skill, social learning, technique, language, and cognition based on lithic technology. Stone Tools and the Evolution of Human Cognition will be of interest to Paleolithic archaeologists and paleoanthropologists interested in stone tool technology and cognitive evolution.
This volume, the first of it's kind, examines the role of women paleontologists and archaeologists in a field traditionally dominated by men.
Author: Lori Hager
Category: Social Science
This volume, the first of it's kind, examines the role of women paleontologists and archaeologists in a field traditionally dominated by men. Women researchers in this field, have questioned many of the assumptions and developmental scenarios advanced by male scientists. As a result of such efforts, women have forged a more central role in models of human development and have radically altered the way in which human evolution is perceived. This history of the feminist critique of science, is of profound significance and will be of interest to all those who work in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, and human biology.
Stephanie Moser analyzes the close relationship between representations of the past and theories about human evolution, showing how this relationship existed even before a scientific understanding of human origins developed.
Author: Stephanie Moser
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Pictorial reconstructions of ancient human ancestors have twin purposes: to make sense of shared ancestry and to bring prehistory to life. Stephanie Moser analyzes the close relationship between representations of the past and theories about human evolution, showing how this relationship existed even before a scientific understanding of human origins developed. How did mythological, religious, and historically inspired visions of the past, in existence for centuries, shape this understanding? Moser treats images as primary documents, and her book is lavishly illustrated with engravings, paintings, photographs, and reconstructions. In surveying the iconography of prehistory, Moser explores visions of human creation from their origins in classical, early Christian, and medieval periods through traditions of representation initiated in the Renaissance. She looks closely at the first scientific reconstructions of the nineteenth century, which dramatized and made comprehensible the Darwinian theory of human descent from apes. She considers, as well, the impact of reconstructions on popular literature in Europe and North America, showing that early visualizations of prehistory retained a firm hold on the imagination—a hold that archaeologists and anthropologists have found difficult to shake.
This book discusses the latest comprehensive information about human evolution and is designed to be a reference and provide an overview of the topic and give the reader a structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the ...
Human evolution is the evolutionary process that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans. The topic typically focuses on the evolutionary history of the primates-in particular the genus Homo, and the emergence of Homo sapiens as a distinct species of the hominids (or "great apes")-rather than studying the earlier history that led to the primates. The study of human evolution involves many scientific disciplines, including physical anthropology, primatology, archaeology, paleontology, neurobiology, ethology, linguistics, evolutionary psychology, embryologyand genetics. Genetic studies show that primates diverged from other mammals about 85million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous period, and the earliest fossils appear in the Paleocene, around 55million years ago. Within the Hominoidea (apes) superfamily, the Hominidaefamily diverged from the Hylobatidae (gibbon) family some 15-20 million years ago; African great apes (subfamily Homininae) diverged fromorangutans (Ponginae) about 14million years ago; the Hominini tribe (humans, Australopithecines and other extinct biped genera, and chimpanzees) parted from the Gorillini tribe (gorillas) about 8 million years ago; and, in turn, the subtribes Hominina (humans and biped ancestors) and Panina (chimps) separated about 7.5 million years ago. The basic adaptation of the hominin line is bipedalism. The earliest bipedal hominin is considered to be either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin; alternatively, either Sahelanthropus or Orrorin may instead be the last shared ancestor between chimps and humans. Ardipithecus, a full biped, arose somewhat later, and the early bipeds eventually evolved into the australopithecines, and later into the genus Homo. The earliest documented representative of the genus Homo is Homo habilis, which evolved around 2.8 million years ago, and is arguably the earliest species for which there is positive evidence of the use of stone tools. The brains of these early hominins were about the same size as that of a chimpanzee, although it has been suggested that this was the time in which the human SRGAP2 gene doubled, producing a more rapid wiring of the frontal cortex. During the next million years a process of rapid encephalization occurred, and with the arrival of Homo erectus and Homo ergaster in the fossil record, cranial capacity had doubled to 850 cm3. (Such an increase in human brain size is equivalent to each generation having 125,000 more neurons than their parents.) It is believed that Homo erectus and Homo ergaster were the first to use fire and complex tools, and were the first of the hominin line to leave Africa, spreading throughout Africa, Asia, and Europe between 1.3 to 1.8 million years ago. According to the recent African origin of modern humans theory, modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from Homo heidelbergensis, Homo rhodesiensis or Homo antecessorand migrated out of the continent some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, gradually replacing local populations of Homo erectus, Denisova hominins, Homo floresiensis and Homo neanderthalensis. Archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved in the Middle Paleolithic between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago. This book discusses the latest comprehensive information about human evolution and is designed to be a reference and provide an overview of the topic and give the reader a structured knowledge to familiarize yourself with the topic at the most affordable price possible. The accuracy and knowledge is of an international viewpoint as the edited articles represent the inputs of many knowledgeable individuals and some of the most current knowledge on the topic, based on the date of publication.
This seminal volume opens the field of cognitive archaeology to scholars across the behavioral sciences.
Author: Tracy B. Henley
The remains that archaeologists uncover reveal ancient minds at work as much as ancient hands, and for decades many have sought a better way of understanding those minds. This understanding is at the forefront of cognitive archaeology, a discipline that believes that a greater application of psychological theory to archaeology will further our understanding of the evolution of the human mind. Bringing together a diverse range of experts including archaeologists, psychologists, anthropologists, biologists, psychiatrists, neuroscientists, historians, and philosophers, in one comprehensive volume, this accessible and illuminating book is an important resource for students and researchers exploring how the application of cognitive archaeology can significantly and meaningfully deepen their knowledge of early and ancient humans. This seminal volume opens the field of cognitive archaeology to scholars across the behavioral sciences.
A final chapter reviews the issues covered. The book, of around 70.000 words of text, includes over 500 references over half of which date from 1994 or later.
Author: John L. Bradshaw
Publisher: Psychology Press
The last decade has seen an explosive burst of new information about human origins and our evolutionary status with respect to other species. We have long been considered unique as upright, bipedal creatures endowed with language, the ability to use tools, to think and introspect. We now know that other creatures may be more or less capable of similar behaviour, and that these human capacities in many cases have long evolutionary trajectories. Our information about such matters comes from a diverse variety of disciplines, including experimental and neuropsychology, primatology, ethology, archaeology, palaeontology, comparative linguistics and molecular biology. It is the interdisciplinary nature of the newly-emerging information which bears upon one of the profoundest scientific human questions - our origin and place in the animal kingdom, whether unique or otherwise - which makes the general topic so fascinating to layperson, student, and expert alike. The book attempts to integrate across a wide range of disciplines an evolutionary view of human psychology, with particular reference to language, praxis and aesthetics. A chapter on evolution, from the appearance of life to the earliest mammals, is followed by one which examines the appearance of primates, hominids and the advent of bipedalism. There follows a more detailed account of the various species of Homo, the morphology and origin of modern H. sapiens sapiens as seen from the archaeological/palaeontological and molecular-biological perspectives. The origins of art and an aesthetic sense in the Acheulian and Mousterian through to the Upper Palaeolithic are seen in the context of the psychology of art. Two chapters on language address its nature and realization centrally and peripherally, the prehistory and neuropsychology of speech, and evidence for speech and/or language in our hominid ancestors. A chapter on tool use and praxis examines such behaviour in other species, primate and non-primate, the neurology of praxis and its possible relation to language. Encephalization and the growth of the brain, phylogenetically and ontogenetically, and its relationship to intellectual capacity leads on finally to a consideration of intelligence, social intelligence, consciousness and self awareness. A final chapter reviews the issues covered. The book, of around 70.000 words of text, includes over 500 references over half of which date from 1994 or later.
We might wonder why we should pursue new inquiries if we already know the story. Is paleoanthropology an evolutionary science? Are analyses of human evolution biological?
Author: Jeffrey H. Schwartz
Publisher: MIT Press
Contributors from a range of disciplines consider the disconnect between human evolutionary studies and the rest of evolutionary biology. The study of human evolution often seems to rely on scenarios and received wisdom rather than theory and methodology, with each new fossil or molecular analysis interpreted as supporting evidence for the presumed lineage of human ancestry. We might wonder why we should pursue new inquiries if we already know the story. Is paleoanthropology an evolutionary science? Are analyses of human evolution biological? In this volume, contributors from disciplines that range from paleoanthropology to philosophy of science consider the disconnect between human evolutionary studies and the rest of evolutionary biology. All of the contributors reflect on their own research and its disciplinary context, considering how their fields of inquiry can move forward in new ways. The goal is to encourage a more multifaceted intellectual environment for the understanding of human evolution. Topics discussed include paleoanthropology's history of procedural idiosyncrasies; the role of mind and society in our evolutionary past; humans as large mammals rather than a special case; genomic analyses; computational approaches to phylogenetic reconstruction; descriptive morphology versus morphometrics; and integrating insights from archaeology into the interpretation of human fossils. Contributors Markus Bastir, Fred L. Bookstein, Claudine Cohen, Richard G. Delisle, Robin Dennell, Rob DeSalle, John de Vos, Emma M. Finestone, Huw S. Groucutt, Gabriele A. Macho, Fabrizzio Mc Manus, Apurva Narechania, Michael D. Petraglia, Thomas W. Plummer, J.W. F. Reumer, Jeff Rosenfeld, Jeffrey H. Schwartz, Dietrich Stout, Ian Tattersall, Alan R. Templeton, Michael Tessler, Peter J. Waddell, Martine Zilversmit
Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book.
Author: Robin Dunbar
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
A closer look at genealogy, incorporating how biological, anthropological, and technical factors can influence human lives We are at a pivotal moment in understanding our remote ancestry and its implications for how we live today. The barriers to what we can know about our distant relatives have been falling as a result of scientific advance, such as decoding the genomes of humans and Neanderthals, and bringing together different perspectives to answer common questions. These collaborations have brought new knowledge and suggested fresh concepts to examine. The results have shaken the old certainties. The results are profound; not just for the study of the past but for appreciating why we conduct our social lives in ways, and at scales, that are familiar to all of us. But such basic familiarity raises a dilemma. When surrounded by the myriad technical and cultural innovations that support our global, urbanized lifestyles we can lose sight of the small social worlds we actually inhabit and that can be traced deep into our ancestry. So why do we need art, religion, music, kinship, myths, and all the other facets of our over-active imaginations if the reality of our effective social worlds is set by a limit of some one hundred and fifty partners (Dunbar’s number) made of family, friends, and useful acquaintances? How could such a social community lead to a city the size of London or a country as large as China? Do we really carry our hominin past into our human present? It is these small worlds, and the link they allow to the study of the past that forms the central point in this book.