This concise introduction to biological anthropology discusses the core areas of the discipline within a unique framework modeled on the scientific method. The text emphasizes themes and theories: facts are presented as supportive evidence rather than dissociated pieces of information. Each chapter poses questions that get at the heart of the field, answers them, and then reexamines them in the same way that scientists generate and test hypotheses. Unlike all other brief biological anthropology texts, this is not an abridged version of a longer text. Its presentation is fluid, well integrated, and covers all the standard topics in a carefully managed level of detail. Well-paced explanations, an inviting tone, and examples of the everyday uses of biological anthropology make the text a pleasure to read.
- This edition is updated throughout, emphasizing the latest research and information on the human genome and new hominin fossil discoveries, with 44 new references, mostly from 2005 and 2006. New information on the human genome appears in Chapter 3 and is applied to the topics of the differences between humans and great apes in Chapter 9 and of human biodiversity in Chapter 14. Coverage of the recent discoveries of Homo floresiensis is in Chapter 11.
- This edition accepts a cladistic taxonomy for the hominoids, redefining “hominid,” as explained in Chapter 7, and using “hominin” for humans and our upright ancestors throughout.
- The reorganized discussion of early hominin fossils in Chapter 10 separates the well-accepted taxa from still-controversial ones, and a revised section on “Putting It All Together” offers the possibilities of a more complex fossil record and evolution of bipedalism.
- In Chapter 12, the discussion of the modern human origins debate is streamlined, with a clearer explanation of an alternative model.
- Other fifth edition changes include: a reordering of topics in Chapter 13 for a more logical sequence, a new discussion “evolutionary development biology (evo-devo)” in Chapter 5, and expansion of the discussion of the history of evolutionary thought into the 20th century in Chapter 2.