Human Bones: A Scientific and Pictorial Investigation

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9780131479401: Human Bones: A Scientific and Pictorial Investigation

The world's foremost authority on biomechanics now focuses on our bones ina beautifully illustrated book of color photography combining expertknowledge of biomechanics and evolution with engaging discussion ofaesthetics and philosophy concerning our most surprisingly important organ.Nothing seems as lifeless as a bone in a museum case, but the bones in ourbodies are as truly alive as our muscles and guts. Alexander visits moments inevery age of our lives, showing how bones grow, how they get damaged, andhow they vary, as well as revealing how to read the story they tell of where wecame from and what we did. Interactive, "do-it-yourself" experiments, such asinvestigating the lubrication of joints in the hand, are presented so readers caninvestigate their own skeleton. Aaron Diskin's 115 color photographs areinformative works of art taken over weeks of shooting in the archives ofmuseums including the American Museum of Natural History, as well asprivate collections including Maxilla and Mandible in New York City.Their elegance is revealed, never before as colorfully and dramatically as in thephotographs of Aaron Diskin's showcased here.

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From the Back Cover:

Human Bones combines an intriguing discussion of the function and design of human bones with stunningly beautiful color photographs that capture their unique elegance. R. McNeill Alexander, the world’s foremost authority on biomechanics, takes the reader on a tour of the human skeleton, investigating and celebrating the human body’s 213 bones.

Alexander explores the nature of human bones as well as their relationship with other parts of the body in this lucid and informative book. Beginning by reminding readers that bones are living organs-they grow, suffer damage, and repair themselves just like other organs-Alexander elucidates the form and function of the myriad bones in the skull, the arms and legs, and the torso. How the bones in the arm combine with the torso at the shoulder to create a wide range of motion, and the relationship among the various parts of the skull-the nose and mouth cavities, for example-are some of the topics explored. Counterintuitive insights are revealed along the way with the help of do-it-yourself interactive experiments that prompt readers to investigate their own bodies.

Why different people’s bones are different is examined in detail by Alexander. This knowledge is behind important work in forensic science and archaeology: it informs the art behind the reconstruction of faces from skulls, and the composition of bones betrays information about the lives of individuals and their daily habits. Throughout the work Alexander places bones in their ancestral context, explaining the principles of evolution and how these relate to utility, and he devotes an entire chapter to exploring the evolutionary relationship between human bones and those of other mammals.

Alexander’s authoritative, crystalline prose, Diskin’s 115 color photographs, and superb graphic design have united in this remarkable book to showcase the extraordinary beauty at the core of our bodies.

About the Author:

R. McNeill Alexander CBE FRS, is Emeritus Professor of Zoology in the University of Leeds and Editor of Proceedings of the Royal Society (Biological Sciences). He has been President of the Society for Experimental Biology and of the International Society of Vertebrate Morphologists, and Secretary of the Zoological Society of London. His many books include Dynamics of Dinosaurs, Bones: The Unity Of Form And Function, Exploring Biomechanics, and Optima For Animals. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, an Honorary Member of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, a member of the Academia Europaea and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has received medals from the Zoological Society, the Linnean Society and the International Society for Biomechanics, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Aberdeen and Wageningen.

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