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Evolutionary History of the Robust Australopithecines (Paperback)
  • Evolutionary History of the Robust Australopithecines (Paperback)
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Evolutionary History of the Robust Australopithecines (Paperback)

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£38.99
Paperback 550 Pages / Published: 15/04/2008
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In paleoanthropology the group of hominids known as the "robust" australopithecines has emerged as one of the most interesting. Through them we have the opportunity to examine the origin, natural history, and ultimate extinction of not just a single species, but of an entire branch in the hominid fossil record. It is generally agreed that the human lineage can be traced back to this group of comparatively small-brained, large-toothed creatures. This volume focuses on the evolutionary history of these early hominids with state-of-the-art contributions by leading international authorities in the field. Although a case can be made for a "robust" lineage, the functional and taxonomic implications of the morphological features are subject to vigorous disagreement. An area of lively debate is the possible causal relationship between the presence of early Homo and the origin, evolution, and virtual extinction of "robust" australopithecines.This volume summarizes what has been learned about the evolutionary history of the "robust" australopithecines in the 50 years since Robert Broom first encountered the visage of a new kind of ape-man from Kromdraai. New discoveries from Kromdraai to Lomekwi have served to keep us aware that the paleontological record for hominid evolution is hardly exhausted. Because of such finds no single volume can hope to stand as a summary on the "robust" australopithecines for very long, but this classic volume comes close to achieving this goal. The book sheds new light upon some old questions and also acts to provide new questions. The answers to those questions bring us closer to a fuller understanding and appreciation of the origins, evolution, and ultimate demise of the "robust" australopithecines. Since the "robust" australopithecines most likely stand as our closest relatives, a better understanding of their origin, history, and demise serves to provide heightened appreciation of the course of human evolution itself. This definitive volume addresses the questions and problems surrounding this important lineage.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc
ISBN: 9780202361376
Number of pages: 550
Weight: 975 g
Dimensions: 254 x 178 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Ask your library consortium... to purchase this tightly edited, well-produced book. It does indeed represent a watershed in our knowledge and understanding of a fascinating and generally poorly studied group of hominids... Perhaps the best single generalization is that a very detailed look at the robust australopithecines makes it clear that the picture is more rather than less complex than it seemed, and that many earlier "consensus" assumptions about the group need to be viewed with healthy skepticism... This is an excellent, comprehensive, thorough compendium."

--David Pilbeam, American Scientist

"This volume takes up the "robust" side branch of human evolution, cousins of ours that became extinct about a million years ago... The best thing about this volume is its completeness. Thirty articles by well-known authors include up-to-date summaries of evidence that is otherwise scattered or unavailable. Topics range from the nuts and bolts of specimen lists, dates, and stratigraphy, to more interpretive exercises in faunal correlation, taphonomy, climate and ecology, paleogeography, growth, biomechanics, adaptation, phylogeny, extinction, and competition (if any) between the two hominid lineages. Grine provides some perspective and coherence with a preface and a summary... This is an important book on human paleontology and Grine made a real contribution in organizing the original workshop and resulting volume."

--B. Holly Smith, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Australopithecus came to light in 1924, with the discovery of the famous child skull at Taung in South Africa. More bones of this extinct hominid were found later at Sterkfontein, and in 1938 the first fragments of a new ape-man, different from the Sterkfontein creature, appeared in eroded cave breccias at Kromdraai... Exploration of these topics does lead to controversy, but there is a measure of agreement on many points. Herein lies the strength of the volume, and a number of the papers will stand for some time as useful reviews... As this book makes clear, our close evolutionary cousins are well worth studying."

--G. Phlip Rightmire, Science


"Ask your library consortium... to purchase this tightly edited, well-produced book. It does indeed represent a watershed in our knowledge and understanding of a fascinating and generally poorly studied group of hominids... Perhaps the best single generalization is that a very detailed look at the robust australopithecines makes it clear that the picture is more rather than less complex than it seemed, and that many earlier "consensus" assumptions about the group need to be viewed with healthy skepticism... This is an excellent, comprehensive, thorough compendium."

--David Pilbeam, American Scientist

"This volume takes up the "robust" side branch of human evolution, cousins of ours that became extinct about a million years ago... The best thing about this volume is its completeness. Thirty articles by well-known authors include up-to-date summaries of evidence that is otherwise scattered or unavailable. Topics range from the nuts and bolts of specimen lists, dates, and stratigraphy, to more interpretive exercises in faunal correlation, taphonomy, climate and ecology, paleogeography, growth, biomechanics, adaptation, phylogeny, extinction, and competition (if any) between the two hominid lineages. Grine provides some perspective and coherence with a preface and a summary... This is an important book on human paleontology and Grine made a real contribution in organizing the original workshop and resulting volume."

--B. Holly Smith, The Quarterly Review of Biology

"Australopithecus came to light in 1924, with the discovery of the famous child skull at Taung in South Africa. More bones of this extinct hominid were found later at Sterkfontein, and in 1938 the first fragments of a new ape-man, different from the Sterkfontein creature, appeared in eroded cave breccias at Kromdraai... Exploration of these topics does lead to controversy, but there is a measure of agreement on many points. Herein lies the strength of the volume, and a number of the papers will stand for some time as useful reviews... As this book makes clear, our close evolutionary cousins are well worth studying."

--G. Phlip Rightmire, Science


-Ask your library consortium... to purchase this tightly edited, well-produced book. It does indeed represent a watershed in our knowledge and understanding of a fascinating and generally poorly studied group of hominids... Perhaps the best single generalization is that a very detailed look at the robust australopithecines makes it clear that the picture is more rather than less complex than it seemed, and that many earlier -consensus- assumptions about the group need to be viewed with healthy skepticism... This is an excellent, comprehensive, thorough compendium.-

--David Pilbeam, American Scientist

-This volume takes up the -robust- side branch of human evolution, cousins of ours that became extinct about a million years ago... The best thing about this volume is its completeness. Thirty articles by well-known authors include up-to-date summaries of evidence that is otherwise scattered or unavailable. Topics range from the nuts and bolts of specimen lists, dates, and stratigraphy, to more interpretive exercises in faunal correlation, taphonomy, climate and ecology, paleogeography, growth, biomechanics, adaptation, phylogeny, extinction, and competition (if any) between the two hominid lineages. Grine provides some perspective and coherence with a preface and a summary... This is an important book on human paleontology and Grine made a real contribution in organizing the original workshop and resulting volume.-

--B. Holly Smith, The Quarterly Review of Biology

-Australopithecus came to light in 1924, with the discovery of the famous child skull at Taung in South Africa. More bones of this extinct hominid were found later at Sterkfontein, and in 1938 the first fragments of a new ape-man, different from the Sterkfontein creature, appeared in eroded cave breccias at Kromdraai... Exploration of these topics does lead to controversy, but there is a measure of agreement on many points. Herein lies the strength of the volume, and a number of the papers will stand for some time as useful reviews... As this book makes clear, our close evolutionary cousins are well worth studying.-

--G. Phlip Rightmire, Science

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