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Human Origins What Bones and Genomes Tell Us about Ourselves

ISBN-10: 1585445673
ISBN-13: 9781585445677
Edition: 2007
List price: $29.95
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Description: Ever since the recognition of the Neanderthals as an archaic form of human in the mid-nineteenth century, the fossilized bones of extinct humans have been used by paleoanthropologists to explore human origins. These bones tell the story of how the  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication date: 3/18/2008
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 216
Size: 7.25" wide x 10.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 2.178
Language: English

Ever since the recognition of the Neanderthals as an archaic form of human in the mid-nineteenth century, the fossilized bones of extinct humans have been used by paleoanthropologists to explore human origins. These bones tell the story of how the earliest humans first emerged in Africa some 6 to 7 million years ago. The bones also reveal that as humans became anatomically and behaviorally more modern, they swept out of Africa in waves into Asia, Europe, and finally into the New World. Even as paleoanthropologists continued to make important discoveries, experts in genetics were looking at the human species from a very different angle. In 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick first envisioned the double helix structure of DNA, the basic building block of all life. In the 1970s it was shown that humans share 98.7 percent of their genes with the great apes--that in fact genetically we are more closely related to chimpanzees than chimpanzees are to gorillas. And most recently the entire human genome has been mapped--we now know where each of the genes are located on the DNA strands that make up our chromosomes. In Human Origins: What Bones and Genomes Tell Us about Ourselves, two of the worlds foremost scientists, geneticist Rob DeSalle and paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall, show how research into the human genome confirms what fossil bones have told us about human origins. This unprecedented integration of the fossil and genomic records provides the most complete understanding possible of humanity's place in nature, its emergence from the rest of the living world, and the evolutionary processes that have molded human populations to be what they are today.

Foreword
Preface
Thinking About Our Origins
Paleoanthropology
What's in a Genome?
Evolution and Human Origins
The Place of Homo sapiens in the Tree of Life
The Human Evolution Story
Luck and Hard Work
The Brain-The Key
The Importance of Language
Epilogue: One in a Billion
Further Reading
Index

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