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An Ape's View of Human Evolution

  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107100671

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About the Authors
  • Our closest living relatives are the chimpanzee and bonobo. We share many characteristics with them, but our lineages diverged millions of years ago. Who in fact was our last common ancestor? Bringing together ecology, evolution, genetics, anatomy and geology, this book provides a new perspective on human evolution. What can fossil apes tell us about the origins of human evolution? Did the last common ancestor of apes and humans live in trees or on the ground? What did it eat, and how did it survive in a world full of large predators? Did it look anything like living apes? Andrews addresses these questions and more to reconstruct the common ancestor and its habitat. Synthesising thirty-five years of work on both ancient environments and fossil and modern ape anatomy, this book provides unique new insights into the evolutionary processes that led to the origins of the human lineage.

    • Provides a fresh and unique perspective on human evolution, approaching the subject with a focus on the apes rather than tracing backwards from humans
    • Synthesises a wide range of evidence, from DNA, phylogenetics, ecology, and anatomy
    • Presents an in-depth analysis of the probable attributes of the last common ancestor of apes and humans, offering new insights for students and for anyone interested in where humans came from in the evolutionary tree
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Peter Andrews draws on more than four decades of research and personal recollections in this engaging and thought-provoking review of how the evolution of apes informs us about human origins. Importantly, Andrews goes beyond the fossil evidence of the teeth and bones to reconstruct the paleobiology and paleoecology of our antecedents, and thus offers a unique perspective on the remarkable evolutionary events that ultimately gave rise to modern humans. This is an extraordinary tale worth telling, and there is no one better than Peter Andrews to tell it.' Terry Harrison, New York University

    'Ape evolution extends back in time more than 20 million years earlier than that of humans, with a more diverse array of species. Yet, there has not been a single book dedicated to interpreting that rich fossil record in itself or with respect to the emergence of humans. An Apes View of Human Evolution by Peter Andrews now fills that void. Reflecting Andrews' unique - for a paleoanthropologist - early background in forestry, the book's perspective centers on paleoenvironments, how they have influenced diversity among apes and the spread of apes throughout the Old World during the Miocene. The book also focuses on the sites and fossils that Andrews has worked on most extensively, which span much of the Miocene and Pliocene. Thus, it is both a guide to the record of ape evolution leading to the emergence of humans as well as a captivating personal narrative of exploration.' Jay Kelley, Arizona State University

    'Peter Andrews is a holistic thinker and this book is the culmination of his long career weaving primate evolution, human evolution and palaeoecology into an insightful and coherent narrative. Here he tells us not just what we know about our evolutionary past, but why and how we know it in the first place. This book is a rigorous and insightful explanation of hominid evolution from the early Miocene onwards, providing readers with the theoretical and interpretive tools necessary for thinking independently about the subject - this will benefit not just students, but those of us already engaged professionally with the discipline. In addition, it's something of a memoir - unapologetically personal at times, yet clear and unbiased in the presentation of information. It will replace any advanced teaching or reference text that you've previously considered an indispensable resource!' Kris Kovarovic, Durham University

    'There are excellent summaries at the ends of each chapter and also at intervals within the main text to emphasise the key points. … this is an easy and enjoyable read. …an essential book for anyone interested in fossil apes, but also it will interest anyone who wants to know more about some of the personalities and achievements of 20th century palaeoanthropologists and that certainly broadens the audience.' Bill Sellers, Primate Eye

    'It is clearly written in textbook style, with just the right amount of background to set the stage, just the right amount of detail to keep readers engaged, and useful summaries at the end of each chapter. It is a reflection of a great scientist's career. I am enthusiastic in my recommendation of this volume to all who wish to learn more about ape evolution and human origins.' David R. Begun, The Quarterly Review of Biology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107100671
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 255 x 174 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • contains: 110 b/w illus. 5 colour illus. 4 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. How can we recognise common ancestors?
    Part I. Apes – Their Morphology and Behaviour:
    2. Morphology and behaviour of living apes
    3. Human and ape phylogenies
    4. Review of fossil apes
    Part II. Environments and Palaeoenvironments:
    5. Structure and composition of ape environments
    6. Environmental indicators
    Part III. Review of Fossil Apes - Morphology and Environment:
    7. The view from the Early Miocene
    8. The environment in the Early Miocene
    9. The view from the Middle Miocene
    10. Specialised apes from the Middle Miocene
    11. The environment in the middle Miocene
    12. A second view from Europe
    13. The environment in Europe
    14. Late Miocene to Pleistocene apes
    15. Apes, hominins and environment in the Late Miocene
    Part IV. Last Common Ancestor:
    16. Putting together the evidence
    17. An ape's view of human evolution
    References and further reading
    Index.

  • Author

    Peter Andrews, Natural History Museum, London
    Peter Andrews has always had a keen interest in fossils, and an encounter with Dr L. S. B. Leakey while working in the Kenya Forestry Department encouraged him to make the move to anthropology. He has spent much of his career at the Natural History Museum, London, where he was Head of Human Origins until his retirement in 2000. Since then he has been curator of Blandford Museum while retaining an Emeritus Research Associate position at the Natural History Museum along with honorary professorships at University College London and the University of York. He has published ten books, two with Chris Stringer, and nearly 200 articles in the scientific and popular press.

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