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

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By David R. Begun (ed.)

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

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BEGUN Chapter 20 takes the review of primate evolution forward in time to the era of catarrhine origins (Old World monkeys, apes, and humans). Harrison focusses on fossil stem catarrhines, those that lived before the two living branches of catarrhines diverged (cercopithecoids and hominoids). The oldest fossil evidence of catarrhines is over 30 Ma, and catarrhines were confined to Africa until about 17 Ma. There is no consensus on which fossil taxa are most directly related to living taxa, which, as noted earlier, is not surprising, because these fossil forms appear before the obvious diagnostic characters of catarrhines and hominoids appear.

However, an internet search of any of these or the terms in the index of this book will quickly bring a great deal of additional information to the reader. There are other resources, especially journals, which provide detailed information on the data of paleoanthropology. This book was conceived as a source of information for people with an interest in human evolution. My hope is that students at all university levels, other anthropologists and other biologists will find this a useful and quick source of information on the state of the art.

None of these attempts have been convincing, and the majority of researchers today are convinced that Homo floresiensis is a real species and not an aberrant modern human. The combination of characteristics found in Homo floresiensis is simply bizarre. It has a very small, chimp-sized brain, yet it is associated with fairly complex tools and evidence of hunting. It has long been thought that hunting and complex tool kits require relatively large brains. It is not clear what is going on in Homo floresiensis, but there is some evidence of reorganization similar to that seen in human brains.

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