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Basics in Human Evolution - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128026526, 9780128026939

Basics in Human Evolution

1st Edition

Editor: Michael Muehlenbein
Hardcover ISBN: 9780128026526
eBook ISBN: 9780128026939
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 23rd July 2015
Page Count: 584
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Basics in Human Evolution offers a broad view of evolutionary biology and medicine. The book is written for a non-expert audience, providing accessible and convenient content that will appeal to numerous readers across the interdisciplinary field.

From evolutionary theory, to cultural evolution, this book fills gaps in the readers’ knowledge from various backgrounds and introduces them to thought leaders in human evolution research.

Key Features

  • Offers comprehensive coverage of the wide ranging field of human evolution
  • Written for a non-expert audience, providing accessible and convenient content that will appeal to numerous readers across the interdisciplinary field
  • Provides expertise from leading minds in the field
  • Allows the reader the ability to gain exposure to various topics in one publication


advanced students and professional scientists or academics in many subfields of biology, such as medicine, paleontology, ethology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, and sociology, and those studying across interdisciplinary fields in biology, genetics, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and developmental biology

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Preface
  • Part I. Positioning Human Evolution
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 1. Basic Evolutionary Theory
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • The Origin of Genetic Variation
      • Variation within Populations
      • Genetic Drift
      • Natural Selection
      • Levels of Selection
      • Speciation
      • From Microevolution to Macroevolution
      • Evolutionary Theory Today
    • Chapter 2. Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • A Scientific Creationism
      • Intelligent Design
      • Conclusions
  • Part II. Primates
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 3. Primate Evolution
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Extant Groups of Primates
      • Higher-Level Relationships
      • Primates on an Ascending Scale?
      • Defining Features of Primates
      • Fossil Primates
      • Overall Evolutionary Relationships
    • Chapter 4. Comparative Anatomy of Primates
      • Synopsis
      • Osteology
      • Myology
      • External Features and Internal Organs
    • Chapter 5. Primate Behavior
      • Synopsis
      • Social Organization, Predation, and Group Living
      • Social Organization and Social Relationships
      • Dominance, Leverage, and Power
      • The “Socioecological Model”
      • Sexual Conflict and “Intersexual Mutualism”
      • Cooperation
      • Sociality and Fitness
    • Chapter 6. Primate Models for Human Evolution
      • Synopsis
      • Models of Human Evolution
      • Dentition and Diet
      • Locomotion
      • Habitat of Our Earliest Ancestors
      • The Macaque Model
      • Fossils and Living Primates
      • Man the Hunted
  • Part III. Hominins
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 7. Early Hominin Ecology
      • Synopsis
      • The Early Hominin Record
      • Macro Paleoenvironmental Context
      • Reconstructing Terrestrial Habitats
      • Geological Evidence
      • Inferring Hominin Habitats and Adaptations
      • Late Pliocene Adaptive Radiations
      • Summary: The Limits and Potential of Our Paleoecological Knowledge
    • Chapter 8. Bipedalism
      • Synopsis
      • How Do Humans Walk?
      • Anatomical Features Associated with Bipedalism
      • When Did Bipedalism Evolve, and What Evolutionary Stages of Bipedalism Did We Pass Through?
      • Why Did Bipedalism Evolve?
    • Chapter 9. Early Hominins
      • Synopsis
      • Taxonomy
      • Purported Early Hominin Species
      • Context: Chimpanzee Morphology
      • Context: Middle Miocene Apes
      • Context: Late Miocene Apes
      • The Morphology of Purported Early Hominins
      • Early Possible Hominins’ Adaptations
      • Early Possible Hominins’ Place in Nature
    • Chapter 10. Australopithecines
      • Synopsis
      • Australopithecus
      • Australopithecus Afarensis
      • Australopithecus Bahrelghazali
      • Australopithecus Anamensis
      • Australopithecus Garhi
      • Kenyanthropus (Australopithecus) Platyops
      • Australopithecus Sediba
      • Australopithecine Adaptations
    • Chapter 11. Early Pleistocene Homo
      • Synopsis
      • Defining the Genus Homo
      • History of Discovery of Early Homo Fossils
      • Taxonomic Diversity in the Genus Homo
      • Taxonomic and Phylogenetic Issues: Homo Habilis and Homo Rudolfensis
      • Phyletic Origins and the Dating of Early Homo
      • Context of Origins and Existence
      • Musculoskeletal Adaptations in Early Homo
      • Association with Stone Tools
      • Future Directions
    • Chapter 12. Archaic Homo
      • Synopsis
      • Geographical Distribution
      • Chronological Variation
      • Regional Variation
      • Growth, Development, and Energetics
      • Language, Behavior, and Culture
      • Evolutionary Relationships and Taxonomy
      • Summary
    • Chapter 13. Anatomically Modern Homo sapiens
      • Synopsis
      • History of Discovery
      • Earliest Fossil Evidence of Modern Humans
      • Climatic Conditions for the Spread of Modern Humans
      • Origins of Modern Humans
      • Relationships with Archaic Homo
      • Paleobiology of Anatomically Modern Homo sapiens
    • Chapter 14. Evolution of Tool Use
      • Synopsis
      • Evolving Hominin Forms and Technologies: A Review
      • Tools in the Animal World
      • Chimpanzee Tool Use as a Model for Early Hominins
      • The Earliest Known Stone Tools
      • The Oldowan (Earlier Lower Palaeolithic/Early Stone Age)
      • The Acheulean and Contemporaneous Industries (Later Lower Palaeolithic)
      • The Middle Palaeolithic/Middle Stone Age
      • The Upper Palaeolithic/Late Stone Age
      • Later Developments
  • Part IV. Genetics and Biology
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 15. Contemporary Human Genetic Variation
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • A Brief History of Human Evolution
      • Our Species Has a Relatively Low Level of Genetic Variation
      • There Is Higher Genetic Variation in Sub-Saharan African Populations than in Other Geographic Regions
      • Genetic Diversity Declines with Distance Out of Africa
      • There Are Low Levels of Genetic Differentiation between Geographic Regions
      • Genetic Distance Is Correlated with Geography
      • The Human Genome Shows Evidence of Admixture from Neandertals … and Others
      • Natural Selection Has Further Affected the Pattern of Contemporary Genetic Variation
      • Summary
    • Chapter 16. Human Population Movements: A Genetic Perspective
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Out of Africa Migration of Archaic Humans
      • Out of Africa Migration of Anatomically Modern Humans
      • Genetic Admixture between Archaic and Modern Humans
      • Technological Advances and Migration: The Case of the European Farmers
      • Historic Migrations into a Previously Occupied Territory: The Case of the Romani
      • Most Recent Migrations into a Newfound Land: The Case of the Polynesians
      • Conclusions and Future Prospects
    • Chapter 17. Brain Evolution
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Lines of Evidence
      • Characteristics of the Human Brain
      • Synthesis: Putting Together Size, Organization, and Asymmetry during Human Evolution
      • And to the Future?
    • Chapter 18. Physiological Adaptations to Environmental Stressors
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Principles of Thermoregulation
      • Climate and Body Morphology
      • Physiological Adaptations to Cold Stress
      • Physiological Adaptations to Heat Stress
      • Physiological Adaptations to High Altitude Hypoxia
      • Summary
    • Chapter 19. Evolution of Skin Color
      • Synopsis
      • When and Why Epidermal Pigmentation Evolved
      • Basis for Pigment Dilution in Modern Humans
      • Conservation of Metabolic Energy
      • Summary
    • Chapter 20. Human Growth and Development
      • Synopsis
      • Growth and Evolution
      • Human versus Chimpanzee Growth
      • Adolescence
      • Evolution of Human Adolescence
      • Girls and Boys: Separate Paths through Adolescence
      • Adolescent Contributions to the Reproductive Success of Adults
      • Risks of Childhood and Adolescence
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 21. Human Reproductive Ecology
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Human Life History
      • Human Reproductive Physiology: The Basics
      • Female Reproductive Ecology
      • Testicular Function during Early Development
      • Challenges and Future Directions of the Field of Human Reproductive Ecology
    • Chapter 22. Human Senescence
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • The Evolution of Senescence
      • Reproductive Senescence
      • Future Directions
  • Part V. Lifeways
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 23. Hunter-Gatherers
      • Synopsis
      • Early Hunting and Gathering Subsistence
      • Hunter-Gatherers During the Historical Era
      • Migration, Biogeography, and Contemporary Populations
      • Hunter-Gatherers and Evolution
      • Hunter-Gatherers in Evolutionary Perspective: Summary
    • Chapter 24. Pastoralism
      • Synopsis
      • Pastoralism as Subsistence
      • Prehistory of Pastoralism
      • Biogeography of Pastoralism
      • Food, Diet, and Cuisine
      • Milk and the Evolutionary Basis for Lactose Tolerance
      • Health, Disease, and Pastoralism
      • Coevolution of Livestock and Their Human Hosts
    • Chapter 25. Agriculturalism
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Agricultural Origins
      • Competing Hypotheses
      • The Spread of Agriculture
      • The Columbian Exchange
      • “Scientific Breeding,” and the Industrial Revolution
      • Crop Evolution
      • Evaluating the Paleo Diet Hypothesis
      • Conclusions
  • Part VI. Health
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 26. Evolutionary and Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease
      • Synopsis
      • Evolutionary Perspective on Human Disease
      • Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
      • Developmental Plasticity and Predictive Adaptive Responses
      • Epigenetics as an Underpinning Mechanism
      • Evolutionary and Developmental Mismatch: The Case of Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases
      • Transgenerational Inheritance
      • Concluding Remarks
    • Chapter 27. Modernization and Disease
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Modernization and Disease: Basic Findings
      • Critiques of Studies of Modernization
      • New Approaches to the Study of Modernization and Disease
      • Discussion
    • Chapter 28. Modern Human Diet
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • The Role of Diet in Hominin Evolution
      • Agricultural Transition: Dietary and Evolutionary Consequences
      • Industrialization of the Diet and Consequences for Human Biology
      • Paleolithic Prescriptions
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 29. Diversity and Origins of Human Infectious Diseases
      • Synopsis
      • The Diversity of Infectious Diseases in Space
      • Origins of Infectious Diseases in Nonhuman Primates
      • The First Epidemiological Transition: Out of Africa
      • The Second Epidemiological Transition: Animal Domestication
      • The Third Epidemiological Transition: First Globalizations
      • The Fourth Epidemiological Transition: Recent Emergences and the Homogenization of Infectious Diseases
      • Concluding Remarks
    • Chapter 30. Coevolution of Humans and Pathogens
      • Synopsis
      • The Importance of Coevolution between Hosts and Pathogens
      • Ensuring Pathogen Persistence Over Time: Modes of Transmission
      • Mechanisms of Host–Pathogen Coevolution
      • Examples of Pathogens that Have Coevolved with Humans
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 31. Paleopathology
      • Synopsis
      • Fossil Humans and Disease
      • Diseases in the Past
      • Bioarchaeology
      • Osteobiography
      • Interdisciplinarity and Difficulties in Communication
      • Questions for the Future
  • Part VII. Behavior and Culture
    • Introduction
    • Chapter 32. Evolutionary Biology of Human Stress
      • Synopsis
      • Evolving Concepts of Stress and Adaptation
      • How Stress Works
      • Stress Moderators and Buffers
      • Developmental and Intergenerational Processes
      • Stress and Health
      • Stress and Life History
    • Chapter 33. Aggression, Affiliation, and Parenting
      • Synopsis
      • Brain, Childhood, and Parenting
      • The Human Family
      • Neurological and Physiological Mechanisms
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 34. Human Mating Systems
      • Synopsis
      • Mating Systems: Basic Concepts and Understandings
      • A Basic Classification of Mating Systems
      • What Selection Pressures Give Rise to Mating Systems?
      • The Polyandry “Revolution” within Behavioral Biology
      • New Models of Sexual Selection
      • Human Mating Systems
      • The Human Case: Do Males Possess Adaptations for Care?
      • Extra-Pair Paternity: Sexual or Social Monogamy?
      • Adaptations for Mating
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 35. Evolution of Cognition
      • Synopsis
      • Evolution of Cognition
      • Consciousness
      • Language
      • Abstraction
      • Theory of Mind
      • Causal Reasoning
      • An Economic Mind
      • Cooperation
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 36. Evolution of Language
      • Synopsis
      • Evidence from Comparative Studies
      • Neural Circuits and the Evolution of Human Language
      • The Implausibility of Universal Grammar
      • Fully Human Linguistic and Cognitive Capability
    • Chapter 37. Evolution of Moral Systems
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • Moral Behavior
      • Moral Systems
      • Moral Sentiments
      • Morality and Levels of Selection
    • Chapter 38. Race and Ethnicity
      • Synopsis
      • Introduction
      • A History of Racial Science
      • Postwar Debates
      • The Social Construction of Race
      • Race and Health
      • New Genetic Sciences
      • Postgenomic Developments
      • Commercial Ancestry Estimation
    • Chapter 39. Evolution of Culture
      • Synopsis
      • Human Expansions
      • Comparative Cultural Data
      • Phylogenetic Comparative Methods
      • Cultural Transition Rates
      • Future Work
  • Glossary
  • Index
  • Color Plates


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2015
23rd July 2015
Academic Press
Hardcover ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Editor

Michael Muehlenbein

Michael P. Muehlenbein is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned an MsPH in both Tropical Medicine and Biostatistics from Tulane University, and an MPhil and PhD in Biological Anthropology from Yale University. He is a distinguished and prolific author and his research includes a number of different topics, from evolutionary endocrinology and ecological immunology to conservation medicine. He is currently working on understanding life history trade-offs between the immune and reproductive systems in primates, as well as risks of emerging infectious diseases associated with contact between humans and wild primate populations.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Anthropology University of Texas at San Antonio San Antonio, TX USA


"This is a laudably ambitious project…various chapters can form an excellent introduction to different graduate courses in bioanthropology and the volume would fit on the shelf of any anthropology or general university library." --The Quarterly Review of Biology

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