Not so long ago, all a student studying human evolution needed was a familiarity with the relatively sparse fossil record and what limited information there was about the context of the sites, a basic knowledge of gross anatomy and archeology, and an understanding of simple analytical methods.
From the Back Cover:
Times have changed. The fossil record has grown exponentially, imaging techniques have advanced dramatically, quantitative methods have burgeoned, and molecular biology has revolutionized our understanding of genetics, evolutionary history, and development. Added to this are advances in the archeological, biological, and earth sciences that help interpret the context of the fossil evidence and reconstruct behavior. But presently there is nowhere students of human evolution cna easily find out about topics as disparate as ameloblast, Coopers Cave, daily secretion rate, the effect hypothesis, homeobox genes, insolation, phylogenetically independent contrasts, quantitative trait locus, semicircular canals, and tephrostratigraphy.
The Wiley Blackwell Student Dictionary of Human Evolution contains upwards of 2500 entries, all drafted with an eye on the student user. It is an indispensable source for those studying human evolution.
Once upon a time, say 50 years ago, the only background you needed in order to appreciate what was known about human evolution was a familiarity with a relatively sparse hominid fossil record, what limited information there was about the context of the sites, some knowledge of gross anatomy and simple analytical methods, and an appreciation of general evolutionary principles.
Times have changed. The fossil record has grown exponentially, imaging techniques have advanced dramatically, quantitative methods have burgeoned, molecular biology has revolutionized our understanding of genetics, evolutionary history, and development, and developments across the sciences have enriched the evidence that is available. In short, the scope and volume of evidence and the range of methods used to analyze it, that paleoanthropologists, be they students or practitioners, need to be familiar with have grown by at least an order of magnitude in the past few decades. But at present there is nowhere students and researchers involved in human evolution research, be they archeologists, earth scientists, molecular biologists, paleoanthropologists, paleontologists, or paleoecologists can easily find out about topics as disparate as ameloblast daily secretion rates, Coopers Cave, the Effect Hypothesis, exact randomization, Hox genes, independent contrasts, orbital insolation, OSL dating, quantitative trait loci, semicircular canal size and shape, tephrostratigraphy and trabecular
The Blackwell Dictionary of Human Evolution is designed to fill this niche. The Dictionary will contain 1500 (TBD) entries produced explicitly and without jargon for those new to the subject and includes timelines, over 100 illustrations, and maps. An indispensable tool for those studying human evolution.
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