This is the first volume to address directly the question of the speciation of modern Homo sapiens. The subject raises profound questions about the nature of the species, our defining characteristic (it is suggested it is language), and the brain changes and their genetic basis that make us distinct. The British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences have brought together experts from palaeontology, archaeology, linguistics, psychology, genetics and evolutionary theory to present evidence and theories at the cutting edge of our understanding of these issues.
Palaeontological and genetic work suggests that the transition from a precursor hominid species to modern man took place between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago. Some contributors discuss what is most characteristic of the species, focussing on language and its possible basis in brain lateralization. This work is placed in the context of speciation theory, which has remained a subject of considerable debate since the evolutionary synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian theory. The timing of specific transitions in hominid evolution is discussed, as also is the question of the neural basis of language. Other contributors address the possible genetic nature of the transition, with reference to changes on the X and Y chromosomes that may account for sex differences in lateralization and verbal ability. These differences are discussed in terms of the theory of sexual selection, and with reference to the mechanisms of speciation.
These essays will be vital reading for anyone interested in the nature and origins of the species, and specifically human abilities.
How did modern Homo sapiens originate and how do we differ from our closest relatives, living and extinct? This volume addresses these questions by bringing together contributions from 15 scientists in fields as diverse as human paleontologylinguisticshuman genetics, and evolutionary theory * New Biology Books. *
THE ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES
Chris Stringer: The Out-of-Africa Hypothesis of Modern Human Origins
Paul Mellars: The Earliest Evidence of Cognitive Ability
Ian Tattersall: The Case for Saltational Events in Human Evolution
Mark Collard: Grades and Transitions in Human Evolution
LANGUAGE AND THE EVOLUTION OF THE BRAIN
Derek Bickerton: From Proto-language to Language
Detlev Ploog: Is the Neural Basis of Vocalisation Different in Non-Human Primates and Homo Sapiens?
Michael Corballis: Laterality and Human Speciation
James Steele: When did Directional ssymmetry Enter the Record?
Norman D. Cook: Bihemispheric Language: How the Two Hemispheres Collaborate in the Processing of Language
THE SEARCH FOR A CRITICAL EVENT
T. J. Crow: Sexual Selection, Timing, and the X-Y Homologous Gene: Did Homo Sapiens Speciate on the Y Chromosome?
Chris Tyler-Smith: What the Y chromosome can tell us about the origins of modern humans
Caroline Sargent, Patricia Blanco and Nabeel Affara: Do the Hominid-Specific Regions of X-Y Homology Contain Candidate Genes Potentially Involved in a Critical Event Linked to Speciation?
Klaus Reinhold: Preferential Sex Linkage of Sexually Selected Genes: Evidence and a New Explanation
Series: Proceedings of the British Academy
Number Of Pages: 346
Published: 1st April 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51
Weight (kg): 0.42