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Evolution of the Human Head Hardcover – 4 Jan 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 728 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; 1st Edition edition (4 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674046366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674046368
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 708,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


Lieberman offers acute descriptions of anatomy, embryology, physiology, and hominid fossils, while providing an exciting way to observe the relationships among structures, functions, and evolutionary variance.--Scott Vieira"Library Journal" (01/01/2011)

Lieberman dives deep into the cranium, showing just how much of what we consider to be human is connected to what happens above the neck.--Carolyn Y. Johnson"Boston Globe" (01/30/2011)

This [is an] impressive book...This hefty and well-written book offers a scholarly breadth and attention to detail that are certainly laudable. The book is quite unusual in that it includes a comprehensive review of the soft tissues associated with cranial features and discusses them within the context of evolutionary morphology and the fossil record of the human skull. I can think of no other volume that packages the anatomy of the human head in this fashion...Lieberman's big book definitely moves us ahead in effectively synthesizing so much of what is currently understood about the structure, function and evolution of the human head.--Brian T. Shea"American Scientist" (03/01/2011)

By rooting his study in the basics of tissue mechanics and functional morphology, Lieberman does the spadework to which all such studies aspire but few achieve--and makes that task seem elegant and effortless.--Henry Gee"Nature" (03/17/2011)

Lieberman's integrated approach will make his book a forum for a way of thinking in human evolution that has not yet found its equal in print.--Christopher Dean, University College London

Daniel Lieberman has written a wonderful and inspiring book about the human head's evolution...One stands in awe at the work that has gone into it...This encyclopedic book is transformative...The morphological details in Lieberman's book make it a direct descendant of Gray's Anatomy...If a single word describes this book, it is integrative. The author integrates material from anatomy, physiology, physics, biomechanics, molecular and developmental biology, but brings all under the umbrella of evolutionary theory.--Chris McManus"Times Higher Education" (02/17/2011)

Daniel Lieberman marshals diverse evidence to provide a comprehensive framework for understanding patterns of variation and covariation in the form, function, and phylogeny of the human head...The breadth and diversity of subject matter the volume will impart to the reader is particularly laudable. Lieberman's holistic approach is a welcome, if not requisite, strategy for addressing a multifarious biological system such as the human head. The book's focus on both hard- and soft-tissue components, consideration of how such elements correspond to one another, and comprehensive overview of external and internal influences on patterns of morphological variation and covariation clearly set the tone for how one might profitably investigate cranial evolution across all vertebrates. The introductions to myriad biological concepts, surveys of some modern approaches to outstanding paleoanthropological questions, and review of fossil evidence regarding evolutionary transformations in human skull form will enlighten readers of all backgrounds. The Evolution of the Human Head is an entertaining read...It contains a wealth of information relevant to human evolution. In doing so, it offers a wonderful entree into many of the outstanding issues that will undoubtedly remain at the center of debates regarding human origins for years to come.--Matthew J. Ravosa"Science" (09/16/2011)

About the Author

Daniel E. Lieberman is Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A superb and comprehensive account of all aspects of the human head, including its evolution by one of the world's great evolutionary anthropologists.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific text 25 Jan. 2013
By Ken C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a recently retired professor of human anatomy & physiology, and I wish I had had this text before retiring. I enjoyed reading this book as what is now only recreation for me rather than material for my courses, continuing to learn about the details and perspectives of the developmental and evolutionary changes leading to the adult human head that, frankly, I confess that I didn't know while teaching A&P for almost 40 years, and that's why I wish I had this book years ago in order to enhance the information that I otherwise could have offered my students. Oh, well. While I can't use it anymore for teaching, I highly recommend this book to current A&P faculty.
And as an afterthought, although I cannot speak as an anthropologist, I would imagine that those in that field, both faculty and grad students, would also immensely appreciate the contents of this work.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evolution Of The Human Head 1 Feb. 2013
By Reid M. Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Evolution of the Human Head begins with Daniel E. Lieberman highlighting the movie nonlogic of Planet of the Apes that shows apes functioning in a human manner with ape heads, which I appreciated. Lieberman demonstrates the complexity and evolvability of the head as a structure and emphasizes that the various components interact with and affect each other in development throughout the book. The book covers bone structuring, organs, senses, diet, teeth, and the characteristics of living and fossil primates. Page 40 notes the importance of the gene Runx-2 (also known as Cbfa 1) that regulates osteoblast differentiation in intramembranous bones so that elevated levels of expression cause increased rates of bone production, and the gene's absence leads to a lack of bone formation; page 40 also notes the importance of the Sox9 transcription factor for the differentiation and proliferation of chondrocytes for endochondral bones. The differences in skull development from neonate to adult for the chimpanzee and the modern human are shown in Figure 4.3 on page 105, in Figure 4.7 on page 116, and in Figure 4.9 on page 125, showing the projecting effect of depository growth fields in the chimp's jaws and the nonprojecting effect of resorptive growth fields in the human's upper jaws and face and in the upper lower jaw. On page 215, Lieberman notes his interesting experiment of juvenile mini-pigs running on a treadmill everyday an hour a day for three months had thicker leg bones (which he expected) and thicker cranial vaults (which he did not expect) as a way of explaining the thinning of modern human skulls over the last few thousand years since the origins of agriculture by theorizing that exercise triggers a systemic growth response; my personal experience in running supports the experiment's results as I've concluded that the entire skeletal structure is strengthened from the strong impacts, noticing that even the neck bone feels significantly stronger from regular running. Page 248 notes the limiting effect of the derived, inactivated version of the MYH16 gene that causes smaller weaker muscles in modern humans. On page 350, Figure 9.5 shows the different positions of the foramen magnum for (a) Homo sapiens, (b) Australopithecus africanus, (c) Sahelanthropus tchadensis, and (d) Pan troglodytes. On page 555, Figure 13.7 contrasts a recent gracile modern-human skull (left, a male from Italy) with an older robust Pleistocene skull (right, Zhoukoudian, Upper Cave 101), showing the thicker, larger construction of the Pleistocene skull. On page 565, Figure 13.11 features a thin-plate spline transformation of a Homo erectus cranium (KNM-ER 3733) into a Homo heidelbergensis skull (average of Kabwe and Petralona) with arrows showing the required upward and downward directions of growth. On page 572, Figure 13.14 features a thin-plate spline transformation of a Homo heidelbergensis cranium (average of Kabwe and Petralona) into a Homo neanderthalensis skull (Monte Circeo) with arrows showing the required horizontal directions of growth. On page 575, Figure 13.16 features a thin-plate spline transformation of a Homo heidelbergensis cranium (Kabwe) into a Pleistocene Homo sapiens skull (average of Skhul V and Cro-Magnon I) with arrows showing the required upward and outward directions of growth for the cranium and the required inward contraction of the upper face. Lieberman's research also appears in "Ontogeny, Homology, And Phylogeny In The Hominid Craniofacial Skeleton: The Problem Of The Browridge" on pages 85-122 of Development, Growth and Evolution, Volume 20: Implications for the Study of the Hominid Skeleton (Linnean Society Symposium) and with Brandeis McBratney-Owen in "Postnatal Ontogeny Of Facial Position In Homo sapiens And Pan troglodytes" on pages 45-72 of Patterns of Growth and Development in the Genus Homo (Cambridge Studies in Biological and Evolutionary Anthropology).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the general "just interested" science reader 23 Jun. 2015
By Tom George - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reader beware. While I greatly enjoyed Dr. Lieberman's book-- The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health and Disease--this volume is for a far more technical audience. Let me give you a sample:

"The prosencephalic signaling center produces signaling factor (Shh and Fgf8) that induce neural crest cells surrounding the forebrain to differentiate into mesenchymal cells that make up the upper third of the face above the stomodeum..."

If that all makes sense to you, then you are probably the right audience. But if not, think twice before investing.
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive text on the evolution of the human head ... 28 April 2016
By Darwin Runner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The definitive text on the evolution of the human head. Meticulous detail written in a way that keeps you interested in turning the page.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 27 Aug. 2016
By Kim Dong Oh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book contains vast information.
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