Offering more than an account of morphological changes over time and space, which rely on findings from paleontology and anthropology, Wilkins also draws on comparative studies of living nonhuman species. He examines the genetic foundations of the remarkable diversity in human faces, and also shows how the evolution of the face was intimately connected to the evolution of the brain. Brain structures capable of recognizing different individuals as well as “reading” and reacting to their facial expressions led to complex social exchanges. Furthermore, the neural and muscular mechanisms that created facial expressions also allowed the development of speech, which is unique to humans.
In demonstrating how the physical evolution of the human face has been inextricably intertwined with our species’ growing social complexity, Wilkins argues that it was both the product and enabler of human sociality.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
1 Thinking about the Human Face as a Product of Evolution 1
2 How the Face Develops: From Early Embryo to Older Teenager 32
3 The Genetic Foundations of the Face 65
4 The Genetic Basis of Facial Diversity 98
5 History of the Face I: From Earliest Vertebrates to the First Primates 123
6 History of the Face II: From Early Primates to Modern Humans 171
7 Brain and Face Coevolution: Recognizing, Reading, and Making Faces 212
8 "Postspeciation": The Evolving Face in Modern Humans 264
9 On Face Consciousness and the Future of the Face 307
10 Social Selection in the Shaping of the Human Face 337
Coda: Three Journeys 370