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Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution / Edition 1

Tree of Origin: What Primate Behavior Can Tell Us about Human Social Evolution / Edition 1

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How did we become the linguistic, cultured, and hugely successful apes that we are? Our closest relatives—the other mentally complex and socially skilled primates—offer tantalizing clues. In Tree of Origin nine of the world's top primate experts read these clues and compose the most extensive picture to date of what the behavior of monkeys and apes can tell us about our own evolution as a species.

It has been nearly fifteen years since a single volume addressed the issue of human evolution from a primate perspective, and in that time we have witnessed explosive growth in research on the subject. Tree of Origin gives us the latest news about bonobos, the "make love not war" apes who behave so dramatically unlike chimpanzees. We learn about the tool traditions and social customs that set each ape community apart. We see how DNA analysis is revolutionizing our understanding of paternity, intergroup migration, and reproductive success. And we confront intriguing discoveries about primate hunting behavior, politics, cognition, diet, and the evolution of language and intelligence that challenge claims of human uniqueness in new and subtle ways.

Tree of Origin provides the clearest glimpse yet of the apelike ancestor who left the forest and began the long journey toward modern humanity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674010048
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/15/2002
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.78(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Frans B. M. de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior in the Psychology Department and Director of Living Links, part of the Yerkes Primate Center, Emory University.

Robin Dunbar is Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Director of the Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

William C. McGrew is Professor of Anthropology and Zoology at Miami University, Ohio.

Craig Stanford is Professor of Biological Sciences and Anthropology at the University of Southern California.

Karen B. Strier is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Richard W. Wrangham is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

Frans B. M. de Waal


1. Anne E. Pusey

Of Genes and Apes: Chimpanzee Social Organization and Reproduction

2. Frans B. M. de Waal

Apes from Venus: Bonobos and Human Social Evolution

3. Karen B. Strier

Beyond the Apes: Reasons to Consider the Entire Primate Order

4. Craig S. Stanford

The Ape's Gift: Meat-eating, Meat-sharing, and Human Evolution

5. Richard W. Wrangham

Out of the Pan, Into the Fire: How Our Ancestors' Evolution Depended on What They Ate

6 Richard W. Byrne

Social and Technical Forms of Primate Intelligence

7. Robin I. M. Dunbar

Brains on Two Legs: Group Size and the Evolution of Intelligence

8. Charles T. Snowdon

From Primate Communication to Human Language

9. William C. McGrew

The Nature of Culture: Prospects and Pitfalls of Cultural Primatology


What People are Saying About This

Meredith Small

In Tree of Origin, primatologists speak out about the evolution of human behavior. After decades of hard work - all those hours in the sun, all those days of stomping though forests, all those years of watching monkeys and apes - they have come to provocative conclusions about how the behavior of our closest relatives informs our own lives. This book is the bridge between our past and our present.
Meredith Small, author of Kids: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Raise Our Children

Ian Tattersall

Human behavior today is so unfathomable and complex that it's hard to relate it to influences from the remote past. But if you want a source that cogently discusses human intelligence in the context of the behavior of other primates, Tree of Origin is the place to turn.
Ian Tattersall, Curator, American Museum of Natural History and author of Becoming Human

Jane Goodall

The last few decades have seen enormous progress in the study of primate behavior. Nine of the world's leading experts team up to tell us what it all means, throwing new light on human evolution.

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