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This book recreates the lost world of the hominid species that lived and flourished for around one million years before, and in some cases after, the evolution of modern humans some 200,000 years ago. It also investigates how, when, where and why the modern human species appeared and in due course became dominant. These are the subjects of as much heated controversy among as they are of considerable interest to anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists and numerous others.Making use of a wide range of evidence the book considers issues in evolutionary archaeology such as how far can the early australopithecines, parathropines, Homo erectus, and the neanderthals be seen as populations on the way to being human, or as distinct, unique species? How far can these species be said to have cultural characteristics and what can be said of their social organization, group structures and adaptive strategies? How do these compare with ape communities then and now, and with those of the earliest modern humans? And do those behavioural comparisons provide a key to hominid evolution? Answering these questions leads the author not only toward a rational account of modern human origins, but toward an explanation of the origins and evolutionary role of cognition, communication and language - of the knowledge that gives our species its name.Written in non-technical language, Humans Before Humanity may be expected to have a significant scientific impact and to be of very wide interest indeed.The paperback edition contains a guide to further reading by chapter, which also outlines current developments in the field.
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Robert Foley is Director of the Duckworth Laboratory and a lecturer in biological anthropology at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of King's College. His other books include Another Unique Species, Hominid Evolution and Community Ecology, and Comparative Socioecology (co-editor with V. Standen). In addition he has published numerous papers in scientific journals on human evolution and palaeoecology, and contributed to radio and television programmes on evolution.Review:
"Foley offers clear and often original answers to crucial questions. A number of conventional ideas are usefully broken and the result is really fascinating. Anyone interested in evolution must read this book." Nature
"The excellence of the writing allows the author to deal with complex topics which many of his academic colleagues continue to render incomprehensible. It is written with a style and clarity that are exceptional. It would make an excellent basis for a graduate seminar programme." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
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