Origins of the Human Brain / Edition 1

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Overview


Throughout history, humans have been fascinated by their origins. The evolutionary development of the human brain has been of particular interest since our intellectual, emotional, and cultural capacities are considered to be unique among animals. This book brings together a group of eminent scientists from the fields of evolutionary biology, anthropology, neuroscience, and psychology. Their views provide a starting point for a debate based on the most recent scientific data relating to the evolutionary origins of the human brain, drawing together knowledge from sciences of the past (paleontology, archaeology) and those of the present and future (molecular neurobiology, population genetics). The result is a lively, informative, and valuable synthesis that will interest a wide range of students and researchers in these fields.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen R. Kelso
This book comprises papers and discussions resulting from a December 1990 symposium, sponsored by the Fyssen Foundation, to encourage scientific enquiry into animal and human cognitive processes and their biological and cultural bases. A number of leading experts in evolutionary biology, anthropology, and neuroscience attempt to bring together the ideas of scientists studying the past (paleontologists and archaeologists) with those studying the present and future (molecular biologists and population geneticists). It is targeted for students and professionals in a range of disciplines, with a heavy emphasis on evolutionary biology. The authors and contributors are for the most part experts with international reputations in their areas. The chapters are quite variable in their use of illustrations; most are well done. The references are solid, but very few are more recent than 1990. This is a very interesting book for people in many disciplines who are interested in theories of how the brain works and how it evolved to its current capabilities. The emphasis is generally on evolution, and the book does not shed a lot of light on how the brain works (still a source of great curiosity to today's neuroscientists). This intriguing collection is useful in stretching the thoughts of a reader by challenging him or her to consider how the different perspectives of other fields can affect his or her own thinking about the brain.
From The Critics
Reviewer: Stephen R. Kelso, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: This book comprises papers and discussions resulting from a December 1990 symposium, sponsored by the Fyssen Foundation, to encourage scientific enquiry into animal and human cognitive processes and their biological and cultural bases.
Purpose: A number of leading experts in evolutionary biology, anthropology, and neuroscience attempt to bring together the ideas of scientists studying the past (paleontologists and archaeologists) with those studying the present and future (molecular biologists and population geneticists).
Audience: It is targeted for students and professionals in a range of disciplines, with a heavy emphasis on evolutionary biology. The authors and contributors are for the most part experts with international reputations in their areas.
Features: The chapters are quite variable in their use of illustrations; most are well done. The references are solid, but very few are more recent than 1990.
Assessment: This is a very interesting book for people in many disciplines who are interested in theories of how the brain works and how it evolved to its current capabilities. The emphasis is generally on evolution, and the book does not shed a lot of light on how the brain works (still a source of great curiosity to today's neuroscientists). This intriguing collection is useful in stretching the thoughts of a reader by challenging him or her to consider how the different perspectives of other fields can affect his or her own thinking about the brain.

3 Stars from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198523901
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Series: A Fyssen Foundation Symposium Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

List of participants
Introduction
1 The first modern men 3
2 Image of the human fossil brain: endocranial casts and meningeal vessels in young and adult subjects 11
3 Toward a synthetic theory of human brain evolution 42
4 The brain of the first hominids 61
5 Evolution of neocortical parcellation: the perspective from experimental neuroembryology 84
6 Brain, locomotion, diet, and culture: how a primate, by chance, became a man 104
7 The human genome 119
8 Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution 127
9 Mammalian homeo box genes: evolutionary and regulatory aspects of a network gene system 137
10 Life in the fast lane: rapid cultural change and the human evolutionary process 155
11 The origins of cultural diversity 170
12 Individuals and culture 186
13 Man's intelligence as seen through palaeolithic art 200
14 The origins and evolution of writing 213
15 The origins of consciousness 239
16 The social mind 250
17 Facts about human language relevant to its evolution 262
18 Cause/induced motion: Intention/spontaneous motion 286
Author index 312
Subject index 316
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