This text introduces physical anthropology, the science of human biological evolution and variation. It addresses the major questions that concern biological anthropologists: "What are humans?" "How are we similar to and different from other animals?" "Where are our origins?" "How did we evolve?" "Are we still evolving?" "How are we different from one another?" and "What does the future hold for the human species?"
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The chapter on macroevolution and the origin of species has been moved earlier in the book (Chapter 4) in order to link better the evolutionary forces with long?term patterns of evolutionary change.
The chapters on disease and demography have been streamlined and combined into a single chapter (Chapter 15) organized around the biological impact of culture change.
Discussion of the human fossil record has been substantially rewritten to include three new species ( Orrorin tugenensis, Kenyanthropus platyops, and Australopithecus garhi), and to include new information such as Homo erectus in Europe, Acheulian-like tools in Asia, and new studies of Neandertal DNA, among others.
A number of new topics have been added. Additions include the Human Genome Project, quantitative genetics and sexual orientation, the evolution of cystic fibrosis genes, an entire section on nutritional adaptation (Chapter 7), critiques of the 'small but healthy' hypothesis, primate behavioral ecology, evolutionary significance of parent-child co-sleeping, pollution and human biology, and the emergence and reemergence of infectious disease, among others.
All areas of contemporary biological anthropology are covered: genetics, evolutionary theory, primate behavior, the fossil record, and material often neglected in introductory texts such as adaptation, human health and disease and demography, and human growth.
The relationship between biology and culture is a major focus throughout the text.
Behavioris discussed in an evolutionary context.
The emphasis is on the human species within the primate order. Discussions of mammals and nonhuman primates continually refer back to their potential relevance for understanding the human species.
Hypothesis testing is emphasized throughout.
John H. Relethford is currently a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Chair in the Department of Anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Albany in 1980. He has taught at SUNY-Oneonta since 1981. He is the recipient of the Chancellor¿s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has authored several books, over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, 13 book chapters, and a number of other publications. His research and teaching interests are in human population genetics, human variation, and the origin of modern humans.
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