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Human Evolution

Trails from the Past

Camilo J. Cela-Conde and Francisco J. Ayala

Publication Date - November 2007

ISBN: 9780198567806

446 pages

Retail Price to Students: $100.95

Offers a comprehensive overview of hominid evolution, synthesizing data and approaches from physical anthropology, genetics, archaeology, psychology, and philosophy.


Human Evolution provides a comprehensive overview of hominid evolution, synthesizing data and approaches from fields as diverse as physical anthropology, evolutionary biology, molecular biology, genetics, archaeology, psychology, and philosophy.

The book begins with chapters on evolution, population genetics, systematics, and the methods for constructing evolutionary trees. These are followed by a comprehensive review of the fossil history of human evolution since our divergence from the apes. Subsequent chapters cover more recent data, both fossil and molecular, relating to the evolution of modern humans. A final section describes the evolution of culture, language, art, and morality.

The authors are leading experts in two complementary fields of scholarship: physical anthropology and molecular evolution. Throughout the book they successfully integrate their expertise in evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, genomics, cultural evolution, language, aesthetics, and morality to produce a cutting edge textbook, copiously illustrated and with an extensive and up-to-date bibliography. The text is suitable for both senior undergraduate and graduate level students taking courses on human evolution within departments of biology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. The book may also be of interest to a more general audience seeking a readable, up-to-date, and inclusive treatment of human origins and evolution.


  • Written by two leading authorities in the fields of physical anthropology and molecular evolution
  • Covers a wide array of topics, integrating evolutionary theory, phylogenetics, genomics, cultural evolution, language, ethics and religion
  • Particularly strong emphasis on molecular and cultural evolution, in contrast to most competing titles

About the Author(s)

Camilo J. Cela-Conde is Director of the Laboratory of Human Systematics and Professor at the University of Islas Baleares (Spain). He is a Fellow (elected 1999) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He is author of two books on human evolution, plus a dozen more books on fiction, biography, essay, and science. He has published numerous articles in scientific journals, mostly related to anthropology and human evolution Francisco J. Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. He was awarded the U.S. National Medal of Science for 2001. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and of Academies of Science from Italy, Russia, Spain and other countries. He has received numerous awards and gold medals, as well as honorary degrees from six countries.

Table of Contents

    1. Evolution, Genetics, and Systematics
    2. The Evolution of Hominoids
    3. The Hominin Lineage
    4. Miocene and Pliocene Genera and Species
    5. Pliocene Hominins: South Africa and the Rift Valley
    6. The Pliocene Cladogenesis-Paranthropus vs. Homo
    7. The Radiation of Homo
    8. Evolutionary Characteristics of the erectus Grade
    9. The Late Pleistocene Transition
    10. The Uniqueness of Being Human

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