Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short - download pdf or read online

By Bernard Wood

ISBN-10: 0192803603

ISBN-13: 9780192803603

The hot discovery of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (nicknamed "the Hobbit") in Indonesia has sparked new curiosity within the research of human evolution. during this Very brief creation, well known evolutionary student Bernard wooden strains the heritage of paleoanthropology from its beginnings within the eighteenth century to today's most up-to-date fossil unearths. alongside the best way we're brought to the energetic solid of characters, previous and current, keen on evolutionary learn. even supposing targeting the fossil proof for human evolution, the ebook additionally covers the newest genetic facts approximately neighborhood adaptations within the glossy human genome that relate to our evolutionary historical past. wooden attracts on over thirty years of expertise to supply an insiders view of the sector, and demonstrates that our realizing of human evolution is significantly depending on advances in similar sciences similar to paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology. this can be a great creation for a person attracted to the origins and improvement of humankind.

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Additional resources for Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Sample text

Dental development can help determine the age of immature individuals, but once all the teeth are erupted and the roots of the teeth are formed dental evidence is less useful. because of compromises between the requirements of bipedalism and the need in modern human females for space in the pelvis to give birth to a large-brained infant. The same dimorphisms, however, might not apply to small-brained early hominins who are not bipedal in the same way that modern humans are: their pelves may show a unique pattern of sexual dimorphism.

Because radioactive potassium and argon convert (or decay) into their daughter products more slowly than carbon 14, potassium/argon and argon/argon dating methods can be used on rocks that contain fossils and stone tools from the early (older than 100 KY) part of the hominin fossil record. Palaeomagnetic dating uses the complex record of reversals of the direction of the earth’s magnetic field. For long periods in its history the direction of the earth’s magnetic field has been the exact opposite of what it is now.

Currents in the liquid core of the earth cause these shifts in the direction of the magnetic field. When the suspended particles settle prior to forming a hard sedimentary rock, minute amounts of magnetic metal in the particles mean that each of them behaves like a magnet. When they settle they line up with the direction of the earth’s magnetic field at the time, and give the rock as a whole a detectable magnetic direction, or polarity. Researchers compare the sequence of changes in magnetic direction preserved in the hominin fossil-bearing sediments with the magnetic record preserved in cores taken from the floor of the deep ocean (called palaeomagnetic columns) and try to find the best match.

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Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Bernard Wood

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