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Human Evolution: A Very Short Introduction

Bernard Wood

Publication Date - January 2006

ISBN: 9780192803603

131 pages
4-1/2 x 7 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

A concise and readable introduction to Human Evolution


The recent discovery of the diminutive Homo floresiensis (nicknamed "the Hobbit") in Indonesia has sparked new interest in the study of human evolution. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned evolutionary scholar Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to today's latest fossil finds. Along the way we are introduced to the lively cast of characters, past and present, involved in evolutionary research. Although concentrating on the fossil evidence for human evolution, the book also covers the latest genetic evidence about regional variations in the modern human genome that relate to our evolutionary history. Wood draws on over thirty years of experience to provide an insiders view of the field, 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. This is an ideal introduction for anyone interested in the origins and development of humankind.


  • Traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the eighteenth century to today's latest fossil finds
  • Explains and connects the fossil and genetic evidence of evolution
  • Explains the roles of geochronology, paleoclimatology, and modern methods for analyzing fossils
  • Lucid and authoritative

About the Author(s)

Bernard Wood is Henry R. Luce Professor of Human Origins at George Washington University and the Smithsonian Institution.

Table of Contents

    1. What to expect
    2. Finding our place
    3. Fossil hominins - discovery and context
    4. Fossil hominins - analysis and interpretation
    5. Possible and probable early hominins
    6. Archaic hominins
    7. Transitional and archaic Homo
    8. Modern human origins
    Further Reading

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