Chimpanzees and Human Evolution, edited by Martin N. Muller, Richard W. Wrangham, and David R. Pilbeam
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‘Definitive’ is an overused modifier, often applied in exaggeration to a piece of work that stands out above all others. However, this edited volume easily qualifies for this attribute, on grounds of its being by far the most comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of the following question: To what extent is the chimpanzee the best referential model for reconstructing the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of the human evolutionary line? The three editors, two primatologists, and a paleo-anthropologist, have assembled a stellar line-up of 32 authors of 21 chapters that range in topic coverage from stable isotopes to symbolic thinking. At 837 pages, it also can be used as a doorstop, but the book’s length is justified by its affordable price (@ 6 cents per page) for such a weighty tome.
First, a description of the contents: Substantive chapters offered are on the LCA, bonobo vs. chimpanzee, life history, reproduction, locomotion, diet (X2), hunting, mating systems, kinship, violence,...
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