Kathryn B. H. Clancy, Katie Hinde, and Julienne N. Rutherford (eds): Building Babies: Primate Development in Proximate and Ultimate Perspective. Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects, Vol. 37 (Series Editor: Louise Barrett)
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“Neither natural selection nor DNA directly explains how individual forms are made or how they evolved…the key to understanding form is development” (Carroll 2005, p. x). Most primatologists and biological anthropologists probably know that primates generally take a long time to grow up, that relative brain size in some groups is especially large, and that humans in particular wean earlier than expected. But how, and why, is this so? The existing gaps in our understanding of the developmental processes that contribute to these phenotypes, as well as the evolution of development in the primate lineage, provide some of the biggest obstacles for understanding the “hows” and “whys” in primate evolution. There is only so much that we can learn from treating observations or measurements taken as slices in time or a single generation as truly representative of patterns of development, or by hypothesizing about driving forces of evolution based on analyses of one sex or age class in either...
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