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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $90.36
  • February 2012
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-91289-0
  • 672 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

Reconstructing Human Origins

A Modern Synthesis

Third Edition


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Glenn C. Conroy (Author, Washington University), Herman Pontzer (Author, Hunter College)


The definitive textbook for paleoanthropology courses.

Reconstructing Human Origins is the most authoritative, comprehensive, and popular paleoanthropology textbook available. Respected anthropologists Glenn Conroy and new coauthor Herman Pontzer use clear writing and abundant, carefully chosen illustrations to illuminate key concepts and help students get the most out of the course. This definitive paleoanthropology text has been fully revised to keep pace with all of the exciting recent developments in the field.


Revised and updated to reflect the latest developments in the field

The science of paleoanthropology changes quickly as new elements of the fossil record are discovered and analyzed, and the Third Edition has been thoroughly updated to include many exciting new finds:

• A new section on primate ecomorphology examines the relationships between anatomy and behavior in living primates.
• New Ardipithecus discoveries, including an examination of the recent Ardi skeleton
• The recent discovery of Australopithecus sediba from South Africa
• New finds of Australopithecus afarensis
• New specimens of Homo erectus from Gona and Dmanisi and recent work on Homo floresiensis are also discussed.
• A completely revised and updated discussion of the biomechanics (and bioenergetics) of bipedal walking and running
• Updated review of the locomotor anatomy and ecology of early hominins and current hypotheses for the origin and evolution of hominin bipedalism
• A thorough discussion of one of the most enigmatic fossils from the human fossil record, Homo floresiensis
• An overview of the latest molecular studies examining the origin of modern humans, the migration of our species out of Africa, and the incidence of interbreeding with Neanderthals and other species

Extensive, carefully chosen art program

A generous, carefully constructed art program (with figures, tables, and photographs with captions) helps students master this complex material. The art program has been thoroughly updated for the new edition, including new easily accessible reference charts inside the front cover summarizing Plio-Pleistocene stratigraphic information, time scale, and paleomagnetic stratigraphy.

    1. Humans as Primates
    2. The Plio-Pleistocene World
    3. Finding and Dating Fossil Hominins
    4. Naming and Classifying Fossil Hominins
    5. Before the Bipeds: Human Antecedents among the Miocene Hominoids
    6. The Earliest Hominins (Part 1): The Australopiths of Southern Africa
    7. The Earliest Hominins (Part 2): The Australopiths of Eastern Africa
    8. Australopith Paleobiology and Phylogeny
    9. The Emergence of Culture and the Origins of the Genus Homo
    10. Quo Vadis Homo erectus?
    11. Almost There – But Not Quite: “Archaic” Hominins of the Middle Pleistocene
    12. Between Apes and Humanity: “Modern” Human Origins
    13. What the Fossils Say About “Modern” Human Origins: A Reality Check