- The most up-to-date introduction to the subject available, includes Homo floresiensis (nick-named 'the Hobbit')
- Explains where modern humans fit in the Tree of Life
- Connects the fossil evidence with the genetic evidence
- Wood provides an 'insiders view' of paleoanthropology, explaining how fossils are found, analyzed, and why they are interpreted in different ways
- Includes lively sketches of the characters, past and present, in human evolution research
- Explains the functions of geochronology and paleoclimatology
This Very Short Introduction traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the latest fossil finds. Although concentrating on the fossil evidence for human evolution, it also covers the latest genetic evidence about regional variations in the modern human genome that relate to our evolutionary history. Bernard Wood draws on over thirty years of experience to provide an insider's view of the field and some of the personalities in it, and demonstrates that our understanding of human evolution is critically dependent on advances in related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology.
Bernard Wood, Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution in 1997