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 is of particular interest as human 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 anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary biology. 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. The sciences of the past palaeontology, archaeology are joined with the sciences of the present and future molecular neurobiology, population genetics to produce a lively, informative, and valuable synthesis.

The book contains black-and-white illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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. --Stephen Kelso, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago

"...[this book] is a relatively rich source of information about the influence of social and cultural processes on human brain function and on human intellectual processes."--American Anthropologist

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.
Doody's Review Service
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

Introduction
PART I: Anatomy of the brain
1. The first modern men
2. Image of the human fossil brain: endocranial casts and meningeal vessels in young and adult subjects
Discussion
3. Toward a synthetic theory of human brain evolution
Discussion
4. The brain of the first hominids
Discussion
5. Evolution of neocortical parcellation: the perspective from experimental neuroembryology
Discussion
6. Brain locomotion, diet, and culture: how a primate, by chance, became a man
PART II: Genetics
7. The human genome
8. Mitochondrial DNA and human evolution
Discussion
9. Mammalian homeo box genes: evolutionary and regulatory aspects of a network gene system
Discussion
PART III: Culture
10. Life in the fast lane: rapid cultural change and the human evolutionary process
Discussion
11. The origins of cultural diversity
Discussion
12. Individuals and culture
Discussion
13. Man's intelligence as seen through Paleolithic art
Discussion
14. The origins and evolution of writing
Discussion
PART IV: Intelligence
15. The origins of consciousness
Discussion
16. The social mind
Discussion
17. Facts about human language
Discussion
18. Cause/induced motion: intention/spontaneous motion
Discussion
Epilogue

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