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Intended for all readers--including magicians, detectives, musicians, orthopedic surgeons, and anthropologists--this book offers a thorough account of that most intriguing and most human of appendages: the hand. In this illustrated work, John Napier explores a wide range of absorbing subjects such as fingerprints, handedness, gestures, fossil remains, and the making and using of tools.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780691025476
ISBN-10: 0691025479
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 140mm x 11mm)
Pages: 200
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 22-Feb-1993
Country of Publication: United States

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » What Gray is to anatomy, Napier is to hands. A world authority on the structure, function, and evolution of the hand, the English physician, now Visiting Professor of Primate Biology at the University of London, is frequently called upon to pronounce upon this or that fossil, or opine on the handiness of monkeys and apes as opposed to Homo sapiens. He is also a droll expositor for the layman, and the present volume illustrates his skills when given carte blanche to say what he will about his favorite appendages. Fine early chapters deal with anatomy, function, and evolution. We learn, for example, that prehensility is probably a matter of dietary change. Humankind evolved from small grub-eating ground-hugging shrews to bigger tree-living fruit- and leaf-eaters, a transition that requires both stability and agility. So: the forefoot becomes the foot-hand and finally a pure hand with fully opposable thumb and exquisite neuromuscular control. Later, we hear Napier on tool-using and tool-making. (He is, after all, the source of the distinction between the power and the precision grip.) And he has some wry commentary on how not to make a nailbrush or a hand drill. Then it's on to fingerprints (not even alike in identical twins), handedness (probably goes hand-in-hand with the development of finesse), and gestures (shades of Desmond Morris' recent work). All this is accompanied by good line art, photos, and occasional fine art. A winner, hands down. (Kirkus Reviews)


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