African Ecology and Human Evolution

1st Edition

Francois Bourliere

Routledge
Published January 15, 2008
Reference - 676 Pages
ISBN 9780202361369 - CAT# Y347095

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Summary

The record of man's early evolution, though still fragmentary, is more complete on the African continent than anywhere else in the world. The ecological context of this evolution, however, has been studied intensively only in recent years. This pioneering volume draws together eminent specialists from many fields--physical anthropologists, zoologists, geologists, paleontologists, and prehistorians--who summarize here the results of their diverse research on Pleistocene environments and the cultural and biological evolution of man in Africa.

This volume was sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Inc., which met at Burg Wartenstein, Austria. The editors have field experience in Africa, especially eastern and equatorial Africa. This experience is coupled with their awareness of the need to integrate results of numerous field studies bearing on the biological-behavioral evolution of higher primates with other field studies on the paleoecology and the mammalian ecology of sub-Saharan Africa.

The book includes contributions on Pleistocene stratigraphy and climatic changes throughout the African continent; on the origin and evolution of the earliest man-like creatures in Africa; on the dating, distribution, and adaptation of Pleistocene hunter-gatherer peoples; and on the ecology, biology, and social behavior of African primate and human populations. The chapters reflect vividly the state of current knowledge at the time and indicate paths for future research. Over 100 maps and figures, detailed bibliographies, and a comprehensive index contribute to the importance of the volume for basic reference use.

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