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The evolution of the human head

Author: Daniel Lieberman
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
From the publisher. In one sense, human heads function much like those of other mammals. We use them to chew, smell, swallow, think, hear, and so on. But, in other respects, the human head is quite unusual. Unlike other animals, even our great ape cousins, our heads are short and wide, very big brained, snoutless, largely furless, and perched on a short, nearly vertical neck. Daniel E. Lieberman sets out to explain  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Nonfiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Daniel Lieberman
ISBN: 9780674046368 0674046366 9780674059443 0674059441
OCLC Number: 555660636
Awards: Commended for PROSE Awards 2011
Nominated for W.W. Howells Book Prize 2011
Description: xi, 756 pages : illustrations, map ; 25 cm
Contents: Preface: heads up --
A tinkered ape? --
The skeletal tissues of the head --
Setting the stage: embryonic development of the head --
Modular growth of the fetal and postnatal head --
Integration of the head during fetal and postnatal growth --
The brain and the skull --
You are how you eat: chewing and the head --
Pharynx, larynx, tongue, and lung --
Holding up and moving the head --
Sense and sensitivity: vision, hearing, olfaction, and taste --
Early hominin heads --
Ecce early homo --
The evolution of the head in homo sapiens --
Final thoughts and speculations.
Responsibility: Daniel E. Lieberman.

Abstract:

Explains how the human head works, and why our heads evolved in this peculiarly human way. This book documents how the many components of the head function, how they evolved since we diverged from  Read more...

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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 Read more...

 
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In one sense, human heads function much like those of other mammals. We use them to chew, smell, swallow, think, hear, and so on. But, in other respects, the human head is quite unusual. Unlike other animals, even our great ape cousins, our heads are short and wide, very big brained, snoutless, largely furless, and perched on a short, nearly vertical neck. Daniel E. Lieberman sets out to explain how the human head works, and why our heads evolved in this peculiarly human way. Exhaustively researched and years in the making, this innovative book documents how the many components of the head function, how they evolved since we diverged from the apes, and how they interact in diverse ways both functionally and developmentally, causing them to be highly integrated. This integration not only permits the head\'s many units to accommodate each other as they grow and work, but also facilitates evolutionary change. Lieberman shows how, when, and why the major transformations evident in the evolution of the human head occurred. The special way the head is integrated, Lieberman argues, made it possible for a few developmental shifts to have had widespread effects on craniofacial growth, yet still permit the head to function exquisitely. This is the first book to explore in depth what happened in human evolution by integrating principles of development and functional morphology with the hominin fossil record. 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