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The Human Career: Human Biological and Cultural Origins [Hardcover]

Richard G Klein
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
RRP: £52.50
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Book Description

2 Jun 2009
Since its publication in 1989, "The Human Career" has proved to be an indispensable tool in teaching human origins. This substantially revised third edition retains Richard G. Klein's innovative approach while showing how cumulative discoveries and analyses over the past ten years have significantly refined our knowledge of human evolution. Klein chronicles the evolution of people from the earliest primates through the emergence of fully modern humans within the past 200,000 years. His comprehensive treatment stresses recent advances in knowledge, including, for example, ever more abundant evidence that fully modern humans originated in Africa and spread from there, replacing the Neanderthals in Europe and equally archaic people in Asia. With its coverage of both the fossil record and the archaeological record over the 2.5 million years for which both are available, "The Human Career" demonstrates that human morphology and behavior evolved together. Throughout the book, Klein presents evidence for alternative points of view but does not hesitate to make his own position clear. In addition to outlining the broad pattern of human evolution, "The Human Career" details the kinds of data that support it. For the third edition, Klein has added numerous tables and a fresh citation system designed to enhance readability, especially for students. He has also included more than fifty new illustrations to help lay readers grasp the fossils, artifacts, and other discoveries on which specialists rely. With abundant references and hundreds of images, charts, and diagrams, this new edition is unparalleled in its usefulness for teaching human evolution.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 964 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (2 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226439658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226439655
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 17 x 5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 534,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


"If you only have one book that deals with human evolution, this is definitely the one to choose." - Jean-Jacques Hublin, Nature "By far the best book of its kind." - Henry McHenry, Evolution"

About the Author

Richard G. Klein is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor in Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University. His books include Ice-Age Hunters of the Ukraine and, with Kathryn Cruz-Uribe, The Analysis of Animal Bones from Archaeological Sites, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This book represents my introduction to the topic of human evolution as it was the first decent text on the subject that I ever read as an undergrad.

In terms of an accessable technical introduction it could not be faulted back then and Klein, whilst holding a number of partisan views on the origins of modern human behaviour, presented, what was at the time a fairly balanced appriasal of the topic.

I would have recomended this book to any new undergrad wishing to study human evolution, be it in terms of biological anthropology or archaeology. However, I was somewhat suprised to find that this is the same edition that I read back in 2001. Since that time significant changes in the way we think about, in particular, modern humans and the antiquity of their behaviour but also the fossil record of the early hominins and miocene apes has changed significantly. As such, I would be inclined to recomend a newer text on the subject and hope that a revised version of this comes out soon.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive! 16 May 2001
By A Customer
Everything you ever wanted to know in exquisite detail about the various homind species that preceded ourselves. Rather dry and technical, but incredibly useful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 19 Sep 2014
By Trevor
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Great item
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and thorough 11 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on
By far the most complete and up-to-date treatment of hominid evolution I have encountered. Covers every aspect of paleoanthropology, including climatic changes and dating techniques, in great detail and precision, but with language that even a non-scientist such as myself can understand. An outstanding reference book.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leading Paleoanthropologist 20 Dec 2009
By Alfred Sundel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is Klein's major work. Very comprehensive. He is a leading figure in paleoanthropology. But as new discoveries come in and new papers are published, revised editions of this book are necessary. For readers who have some idea of the subject only.

Klein and his school of thought are weakest on the period after c 40,000. They believe Neanderthals were exterminated. Accumulating evidence suggests that what he (and others) call "early moderns" in Europe all had manifest reduced Neanderthal traits. The Cro-Magnons have become an embarrassment to his otherwise erudite run through the evolutionary evidence. They were re-analysed as Neanderthaloid and redated as latecomers to Europe.

His writing on Neanderthals fails to fully credit them and the pre-Neanderthals, along with their diversity, for their many accomplishments, some of which continue down to modern times. This is essential reading for the serious student of paleoanthropology but not for the origin of modern Europeans.

Al Sundel
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great overview 6 Jun 2000
By A Customer - Published on
One of the definitive texts on the evolution of the hominidae. This text presents some very complex material in a very straightforward way with plenty of diagrams, charts, and maps. Many of the controversies found in the field of paleoanthropology are glossed over or skipped altogether, but this volume is still one of the best for an introduction to human evolution both biologically and culturally. A must for anthropology students especially with all the new discoveries in the past few years.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before History Began 30 Mar 2009
By William Bezdek - Published on
For the six million years before early humans evolved in a different direction from their chimpanzee cousins, there were no writings to consult about our (assuming the readers are human) evolution. This fine book fills this tremendous gap about our ancestors by examining the evidence from skeletal remains that reveal the development of human brain size, eating habits, and getting about on two legs. Klein evaluates this evidence fairly from the viewpoint of different scholars who attempt to relate this evidence to the development of human culture. The massive list of references at the back of the book cites over 2,400 books and journal articles, accompanied by a index of the pages where each reference is used in the text. If you want to know about human ancestors, and you are not too overwhelmed by details clearly and fairly presented, you'll love to wander through this book.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It helps to have some knowledge 26 Nov 2002
By Greg Maffei - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
about geology, anthropology and paleantology. This book gives minutely detailed information about everything from history to bones. It should really be used as a reference. There is probably no better book on the subject, it was recommended to me by an anthropologist
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