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Description - Human Evolution through Developmental Change by Nancy Minugh-Purvis

Since Darwin's time, the natural selection of adult features has been emphasized as the dominant factor directing human evolution. In recent years, however, evolutionary scientists have recognized variations in the growth and development of individuals as an indispensable ingredient of evolutionary change. The chapters in this work reflect two major strands of research in the study of human heterochrony, the change in the timing and rate of development of individuals. First, palaeoanthropological evidence culled from the remains of infant and juvenile hominid fossils held in the world's museums has provided valuable new insights into the way naturally selected traits come about. Second, remarkable strides in molecular biology since the 1980s have allowed scientists to confirm evolutionary relationships between species and test the relationships of new evolutionary patterns to changes in the rate of development at a variety of levels, from molecules to organ systems. Editors Nancy Minugh-Purvis and Kenneth J. McNamara have organized the chapters of the book into three sections. The first section considers theoretical applications of heterochronic methods to the hominid fossil record. The second section considers the relationship of developmental change to various aspects of hominid life history, including cognitive, sexual, and structural developments. The third section provides a chronological survey of heterochronic change in the hominid fossil record from the Pliocene to late Pleistocene eras. The book should be a valuable resource for scientists and students of developmental biology, physical and social anthropology, and palaeontology who wish to understand current views on the underlying mechanisms of human evolution.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801867323
ISBN-10: 0801867320
Format: Hardback
(235mm x 156mm x 38mm)
Pages: 528
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 3-Dec-2001
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Nancy Minugh-Purvis

Nancy Minugh-Purvis is an assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy at MCP Hahnemann University. Kenneth J. McNamara is the senior curator of invertebrate paleontology and head of the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at the Western Australian Museum.