Biological Anthropology : A Synthetic Approach to Human Evolution / Edition 2

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This new edition of Biological Anthropology is evolutionary in perspective in the belief that evolution is the only unifying theory that can clearly explain the existing array of biological and cultural data. The basics of anthropological theory and human genetics are introduced before the topics of vertebrate evolution, primate evolution and social behavior, human evolution and behavior, and human variation and adaptation. In each section, behavior, morphology, adaptation, and ecology are discussed to provide the comparative basis for human origins. Includes expanded sections on genetics, with a new chapter on classic genetics (Ch. 2), and a new chapter on Darwinian evolution (Ch. 3); a new chapter on the living primates, their distribution and anatomical adaptations (Ch. 7); an expanded section on Homo, including a new chapter on Homo sapiens sapiens; and a new chapter on hominoid and human behavior (Ch. 13), which combines the evolution of hominoid behavior and the evolution of human social behavior.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130908193
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 12/28/2001
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Noel T. Boaz is founder of the International Institute for Human Evolutionary Research in Oregon and Professor of Anatomy at Ross University School of Medicine. Dr. Boaz received his Ph.D. in biological anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley in 1977 and is currently working on his M.D. degree. A paleoanthropologist with many years of field experience in Africa, his most recent research has been on Chinese Homo erectus. Other research interests include earliest hominid origins, paleoecology, evolutionary medicine, and forensic anthropology. In 1999, Dr. Boaz was scientific planning director in Bosnia for Physicians for Human Rights. His most recent publications include Eco Homo (1997), an ecological history of the human species, and Evolving Health (2002), an application of human evolutionary biology to preventive medicine.

Alan J. Almquist is Professor of Anthropology at California State University, Hayward. Dr. Almquist received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 1974 at the University of California, Berkeley. A dedicated teacher, he has also headed the Clarence Smith Museum of Anthropology at Hayward and has undertaken fieldwork at early hominid sites in the Middle Awash, Ethiopia. Current research interests include the evolution of human sexual behavior and paleoanthropology. Publications include Milestones in Human Evolution (1993) edited with Ann Manyak; a reader, Human Sexuality (1995) with Andrei Simic and Patricia Omidian; and Contemporary Readings in Physical Anthropology (2000), a collection of articles from the New York Times, edited by Dr. Almquist and published by PrenticeHall.

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Table of Contents

1 Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Biology and Behavior 1
2 Earliest Beginnings : DNA, the Cell, and the First Animals 33
3 Evolution and Natural Selection 66
4 Populations, Species, and Evolution 100
5 Stages of Vertebrate Evolution 131
6 Introduction to Primates: Origins and Evolution 172
7 Primates: Patterns in Social Behavior 210
8 The Florescence and Decline of the Hominoids 246
9 Evolution of Hominoid Behavior 278
10 Australopithecines 320
11 The Genus Homo 359
12 The Evolution of Human Social Behavior 397
13 Human Biology and Variation 438
14 The Human Life Cycle: Human Biology, Growth, and Adaptability 478
15 The Modern Human Condition in Evolutionary Perspective: Applied Biological Anthropology 514
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The first edition of Biological Anthropology appeared in 1997. Since that time, a significant number of new discoveries in all of the subfields have been made that have altered to a greater or lesser extent our understanding of ourselves. Perhaps the most rapidly changing subfield of biological anthropology is that of paleoanthropology, or the study of our origins and evolution. During 2000 and 2001, two new genera of fossil hominids were announced based on discoveries that, in one instance, exceeded 5 million years of age. We were able to report on this discovery of a new fossil genus called Orrorin in this edition. We were not able to report on one new subspecies of another hominid genus, Ardipithecus, a fossil hominid that, up to this point, we believed was only 4.5 million years of age because of publication deadlines. We will take the opportunity here to say that this new subspecies, called Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba, is represented by cranial, dental, and postcranial fragments, including a toe bone. This is enough to establish this new 5.5-million-year-old fossil from a site in the Middle Awash region of Ethiopia as the earliest upright walking biped thus far known.

Such discoveries, while not what one should consider commonplace, do set the field of biological anthropology off as different from many others because change, not quiescence, is its hallmark. This alone makes it nearly impossible to write a textbook that is completely up-to-date with new discoveries and the interpretations of those discoveries that follow by researchers who study them. It also makes this field one of the most fascinating, perhaps imponderable, likening itself to amystery story whose plot not only thickens but is continually altered by a never-ending stream of new facts. Realizing our limitations to elucidate, we can only hope that we have passed on the sense of the fascination that will spark our readers to seek out answers to the many questions that remain about the human condition.


We believe Biological Anthropology, Second Edition, represents both a useful approach to the teaching of biological anthropology at the introductory college and university level and a restatement of the coherency and fundamental compatibility of the many subfields that contribute to its makeup. Throughout the book, the reader will find the unifying thread of evolution by natural selection that forms the basic paradigm of the discipline. As scientists, we believe that every question should remain open to the possibility of a new answer; however, Charles Darwin's formulations of evolution and its later modifications continue to be our best explanation for life on earth and the world around us.

This work remains organized along lines of increasing complexity of living forms, beginning from prebiotic replicating molecules through to modern Homo Sapiens. Since this book is devoted to issues that revolve around us, we have devoted considerable space in the text to considering our past and present situation and, in an educated fashion, to speculating about our future. We have used available paleoecological data to set the stage and provide the context of the morphological and behavioral adaptations that have characterized our ancestors during each phase of our evolution. We believe that this organization serves to build students' understanding of the biological, genetic, and anatomical basics of biological anthropology so that complex questions of human relatedness to other life forms, behavior, variability, and modern-day adaptation to our increasingly demanding environments can be approached in more meaningful ways.

In a field as fast paced as biological anthropology, we welcome the opportunity to revise and update the original text. New insights into old problems, new fossil finds, new people working in the field, and, sadly, people who have made their contribution and passed on—all require comment. Of the many contributors who have died since we first began this project, we note the death of our mentor, Professor Sherwood L. Washburn, whose influence continues to be felt throughout much of this new text, and Professor Jean de Heinzelin, whose contributions to African geochronology will remain the benchmark for others for years to come. A large part of the fascination that we have for this field came from knowing and working with these individuals.


Every chapter in the second edition has been revised, and several new chapters have been added when it appeared that greater detail was necessary to explain some parts of the field more clearly. These revisions were the outcome of the combined efforts of reviewers, students who have used the original text, and our second look at what we had done in the first edition.

An expanded section on genetics, which includes Chapters 2 and 3, provides a clearer emphasis on Mendelian genetics and gives new emerging data on genetics and natural selection.

A new chapter on the living nonhuman primates highlights their distribution and anatomical adaptations.

The section on human evolution has been expanded to accommodate the growing fossil evidence and now includes a full chapter on Homo sapiens sapiens.

A new chapter comparing and contrasting ape and human behavior provides a more coherent picture of the evolution and development of hominoid social behavior.

The unique chapter on applied biological anthropology now includes a discussion of evolutionary medicine and provides the guidelines as to how to relate the accumulated data of biological anthropology to problems that modern urban humans face.

An expanded box series allows students to explore important concepts in each chapter.

Frontiers. Frontiers boxes look at new research and the direction this research might take in the future. For example, in the final chapter a Frontiers box looks at the subject of nanotechnology, a new field whose products are atom-sized self-replicating machines capable of-doing work of nearly infinite variety. The potential for harm, however, is predicted by evolutionary theory—if rogue machines created by "mutation" begin to self-replicate in directions not foreseen by their creators.

Research Highlights. New research and how this research has affected our understanding of current problems are featured in Research Highlights. For example, a recent hominid fossil discovery made by Meave Leakey and her team on the western shores of Lake Turkana, Kenya, holds promise of altering our ideas about early human evolution. This discovery, which the Leakey team has called Kenyanthropus, is dated to about 3.5 million years ago and is contemporaneous with the well-known fossil group Australopithecus a farensis, of which "Lucy" is a member. Many paleoanthropologists believe that more than one taxon of bipeds evolved during the early phases of hominid evolution. Kenyanthropus may be just the discovery to help prove that point. The human family tree at its trunk may be a lot more "bushy" than we thought.

A running glossary has been added to each chapter. The definitions of key terms have been placed in the margins so that students will be able to find them more quickly and efficiently. The full glossary is also located at the end of the book.


We have made this edition more user friendly by taking advantage of the advanced technology of the Internet.

Expanded Internet exercises are found at the end of each chapter, allowing students to take full advantage of incredible resources of this new powerful databank. A Critical Thinking Exercise and a Writing Assignment are included; a complete listing of Internet resources to help students complete the exercises is located on the Companion Website™ that accompanies this book.

New to this edition, a MediaLab is located at the end of every chapter. The topics were carefully chosen not only for student interest but also because they highlight information that students may very well encounter in their daily lives. All of the necessary information is included in the text; the static becomes dynamic once the student accesses the Companion Website™ for animations or videos to illustrate the topic. As a summation, students are asked to communicate the results of their explorations.


Companion Website. In tandem with the text, students can now take full advantage of the World Wide Web to enrich their study of biological anthropology through the Boaz Companion Website™. This resource correlates the text with related material available on the Internet. Features include chapter objectives, study questions, research projects, animations, and links to additional material that can reinforce and enhance the content of each chapter.

Anthropology on the Internet: Evaluating Online Resources, 2001. This guide focuses on developing the critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate and use online sources effectively. The guide also provides a brief introduction to navigating the Internet, along with complete references related specifically to the anthropology discipline and how to use the Companion Websites™ available for many Prentice Hall textbooks. This brief supplementary book is free to students when shrink wrapped as a package with Biological Anthropology, Second Edition.

The New York Times/Prentice Hall Themes of the Times. The New York Times and Prentice Hall are sponsoring Themes of the Times, a program designed to enhance student access to current information relevant to the classroom. Through this program, the core subject matter provided in the text is supplemented by a collection of timely articles from one of the world's most distinguished newspapers, the New York Times. These articles demonstrate the vital, ongoing connection between what is learned in the classroom and what is happening in the world around us. To enjoy a wealth of information provided by the New York Times daily, a reduced subscription rate is available. For information, call toll-free: 1-800-631-1222.

Prentice Hall and the New York Times are proud to co-sponsor Themes of the Times. We hope it will make the reading of both textbooks and newspapers a more dynamic, involving process.


Instructor's Resource Manual with Tests. This essential instructor's tool includes chapter outlines, resources for discussion, discussion questions, paper topics and research projects, Web resources, and film resources. In addition, the test portion of the manual includes 1,600 questions in multiple-choice, true/false, and essay formats. All test questions are page referenced to the text. The test questions are available in both Windows and Macintosh computerized formats. Contact your Prentice Hall representative for more details.

Distance Learning Solutions. Prentice Hall is committed to providing our anthropology content to the growing number of courses being delivered over the Internet by developing relationships with the leading platforms, as well as Course Compass, Prentice Hall's own easy-to-use course management system powered by Blackboard™. Please visit our technology solutions Website for more information or contact your local Prentice Hall sales representative.

The second edition of Biological Anthropology continues to present the field as an exciting, challenging, and ever changing one. Above all else, though, we continue to believe that the importance of this book lies in our efforts to present many different ideas to be discussed and, as warranted, challenged by the reader.

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