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Download A Companion to Paleoanthropology by David R. Begun (ed.) PDF

By David R. Begun (ed.)

A spouse to Paleoanthropology offers a compendium of readings from prime students within the box that outline our present wisdom of the key discoveries and advancements in human origins and human evolution, tracing the fossil checklist from primate and hominid origins to the dispersal of contemporary people around the globe. Represents an obtainable cutting-edge precis of the full box of paleoanthropology, Read more...

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Additional resources for A Companion to Paleoanthropology

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3 The revisiting of the African ape and human clade in the modern era (originally proposed by Huxley), based on modern, lab-based analyses, is I think one of the most significant developments in the history of paleoanthropology. It calls into question the idea that there is a vast gap between apes and humans, and reveals the fact that humans are in fact embedded within the great apes, the hominids, which includes the great apes and humans. Regarding divergence dates, the most widely discussed, the chimp-human divergence, is currently placed at roughly 6 Ma, although somewhat older dates are not excluded.

Schick and Toth cover the record from before the appearance of the first direct evidence of tools in the fossil record (comparisons with chimp tool use) to the appearance of modern humans. Archeologists often say that they study garbage, and certainly in the Paleolithic this is the case. The vast majority of the Paleolithic record consists of broken or intact tools left behind, and the remains of the animals used for food and processed using these tools. While there is some curation of tools (keeping and “sharpening” them for repeated uses), much of the Paleolithic record, especially its earliest manifestations, is more like what you would find at a favorite picnic site rather than a kitchen (disposable utensils, a temporary set-up and a bunch of left-over bones).

It is important to understand that at this time there were far more archeological artifacts known from prehistoric sites than human remains. Human skeletal material was occasionally collected from Neolithic and Bronze Age tombs, and anatomists avidly investigated them to determine what race they belonged to. But human fossils from the Paleolithic were extremely rare, and those that were known generated considerable interest.

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