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  • Reference work
  • © 2015

Handbook of Paleoanthropology

  • First comprehensive handbook on paleoanthropology taking a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach

  • Three volumes cover the breadth and depth of a vast topic

  • All volumes available in print and online

  • Includes supplementary material:

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  • ISBN: 978-3-642-39979-4
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Hardcover Book USD 1,199.99
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Table of contents (76 entries)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xliii
  2. Principles, Methods, and Approaches

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Evolutionary Theory in Philosophical Focus

      • Philippe Huneman
      Pages 127-175
    3. Quantitative Approaches to Phylogenetics

      • Kaila E. Folinsbee, David C. Evans, Jörg Fröbisch, Daniel R. Brooks, Linda A. Tsuji
      Pages 257-294
    4. Chronometric Methods in Paleoanthropology

      • Daniel Richter, Guenther A. Wagner
      Pages 317-350
    5. Patterns of Diversification and Extinction

      • Walter Etter
      Pages 351-415
    6. Taphonomic and Diagenetic Processes

      • Gisela Grupe, Michaela Harbeck
      Pages 417-439
    7. Paleosols

      • Gregory Retallack
      Pages 511-535
    8. Quaternary Geology and Paleoenvironments

      • John A. Van Couvering
      Pages 537-555
    9. Quaternary Deposits and Paleosites

      • Klaus-Dieter Jäger
      Pages 557-569
    10. Paleoecology: An Adequate Window on the Past?

      • Thorolf Hardt, Peter R. Menke, Britta Hardt
      Pages 571-622

About this book

This extensive, three-volume handbook, intensively updated and enlarged, is a superb new resource for students, researchers, and practitioners in paleoanthropology. A baseline storehouse covering the full extent of current knowledge, the volume features an online e-reference work that will be updated with future developments in this fascinating discipline. Often cited as the most multidisciplinary of all the sciences, paleoanthropology encompasses a vast range of techniques drawn from geology, evolutionary biology, and archaeology, among many others.


Guided by an editorial team of global stature, the contributions reflect the best of today’s scholarship. Each volume covers core constituents of the subject: basic principles and methods, primate evolution and human origins, and the phylogeny of hominins. The editors have ensured that the entries uphold a key principle of paleoanthropology, requiring historical assessments to be updated with developing knowledge of the living world.

The handbook’s first volume incorporates the enormous advances made in such areas as phylogenetic analysis, paleoecology and evolutionary theory and philosophy. Volume II integrates primate fossil data with the vast amount that is now known of the behavior and ecology of living primates in natural environments. The third volume deals with the fossil and molecular evidence for the evolution of Homo sapiens and its fossil relatives. Paleoanthropology is characterized by its many live and unresolved academic debates, which are reflected in the heterogeneity of intellectual standpoints in this handbook. This planned diversity ensures that the Springer Handbook of Paleoanthropology is a multilayered, comprehensive companion of inestimable value to students, academics, and working professionals alike.


  • Fossils and Molecular Biology
  • Human Evolution
  • Paleoanthropology
  • Primate Evolution

Editors and Affiliations

  • Institut für Anthropologie, Johannes-Gutenberg Universität, Mainz, Germany

    Winfried Henke

  • Division of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

    Ian Tattersall

About the editors

Winfried Henke is retired Academic Director and apl. Professor of Anthropology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He was born in 1944 in Pomerania, Germany, and studied biology, anthropology, geosciences, as well as philosophy and pedagogy in Kiel and Braunschweig. In 1971, he received his Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.) from the University of Kiel, his thesis focusing on a prehistoric anthropological topic and multivariate statistical analysis in skeletal biology. Since 1971, Henke conducted research and taught at the Faculty of Biology of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in paleoanthropology, primatology, prehistoric anthropology, comparative morphology, systematics, demography, sociobiology, and scientific history. He had research activities in various countries (Iceland, Israel, Jordan, US, Greece), and in 1990, he habilitated with a monograph on the “Anthropology of Upper Paleolithics and Mesolithics of Europe and the Mediterranean Basin.” In the scope of the ERASMUS docent exchange program, intensive lecturing at numerous European Universities followed. Henke acted as elected anthropology referee for the German Research Foundation (DFG) and still serves at the advisory boards of scientific journals (e.g., Interdisziplinäre Anthropologie, published at Springer-Verlag); further, he was book review editor and advisory consultant to museums, e.g., the Neanderthal Museum (Germany). He published approximately 200 original papers in scientific journals and anthologies and several hundreds of book reviews and supervised more than 100 diplomas and Ph.D. theses in biological anthropology. He is author, coauthor (together with H. Rothe), and editor of several books including such standard works as Paläoanthropologie, Stammesgeschichte des Menschen, and Phylogenetische Systematik (published at Springer-Verlag). In 2006, he was awarded the honorary doctorate of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens; he is an elected member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and Academician of the Leibniz-Sozietaet of Sciences.


Ian Tattersall is Curator Emeritus in the Division of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Trained in archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge and in geology and vertebrate paleontology at Yale, he has worked on lemur systematics and ecology as well as in paleoanthropology, where his special interest has been in hominid diversity and cognitive evolution. Most recently, he has been concerned with trying to understand how a nonlinguistic and nonsymbolic ancestor gave rise to the cognitively unprecedented Homo sapiens and what drove the exceptionally fast evolution of the human lineage over the course of the Pleistocene. He has done both primatological and paleontological fieldwork in countries as diverse as Madagascar, Vietnam, Surinam, Yemen, and Mauritius. In collaboration with Jeffrey Schwartz, he wrote three volumes of The Hominid Fossil Record (2002–2005), a documentation in standardized descriptive and illustrative format of a large proportion of the most significant fossils that tell the human evolutionary story. Ian is also a prominent interpreter of human paleontology to the public with several trade books to his credit, among them The Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and Beliefs (2012, with Rob DeSalle), Masters of the Planet (2012), Race? Debunking a Scientific Myth (2011, with Rob DeSalle), The World from Beginnings to 4000 BCE (2008), Becoming Human: Evolution and Human Uniqueness (1998), and The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know About Human Evolution (1995, 2nd ed. 2009), as well as many articles in Scientific American and Natural History and the coeditorship of the definitive Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory. He lectures widely and, as curator, has also been responsible for several major exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History including Ancestors: Four Million Years of Humanity (1984); Dark Caves, Bright Visions: Life In Ice Age Europe (1986); Madagascar: Island of the Ancestors (1989); The First Europeans: Treasures from the Hills of Atapuerca (2003); and the highly acclaimed Hall of Human Biology and Evolution (1993) and its successor, Hall of Human Origins (2007).

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 1,099.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-642-39979-4
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 1,199.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)