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Chimpanzees and Human Evolution

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Knowledge of chimpanzees in the wild has expanded dramatically in recent years. This comprehensive volume, edited by Martin Muller, Richard Wrangham, and David Pilbeam, brings together scientists who are leading a revolution to discover and explain what is unique about humans, by studying their closest living relatives. Their observations and conclusions have the potential to transform our understanding of human evolution.

Chimpanzees offer scientists an unmatched view of what distinguishes humanity from its apelike ancestors. Based on evidence from the hominin fossil record and extensive morphological, developmental, and genetic data, Chimpanzees and Human Evolution makes the case that the last common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans was chimpanzee-like. It most likely lived in African rainforests around eight million years ago, eating fruit and walking on its knuckles. Readers will learn why chimpanzees are a better model for the last common ancestor than bonobos, gorillas, or orangutans. A thorough chapter-by-chapter analysis reveals which key traits we share with chimpanzees and which appear to be distinctive to Homo sapiens, and shows how understanding chimpanzees helps us account for the evolution of human uniqueness. Traits surveyed include social behaviors and structures, mating systems, diet, hunting practices, tool use, culture, cognition, and communication.

Edited by three of primatology’s most renowned experts, with contributions from 32 scholars drawing on decades of field research, Chimpanzees and Human Evolution provides readers with detailed up-to-date information on what we can infer about our chimpanzee-like ancestors and points the way forward for the next generation of discoveries.

Edition Number:
Wrangham Richard
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Martin N. Muller is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico.

Richard W. Wrangham is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

David R. Pilbeam is Henry Ford II Professor of Human Evolution in the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.

  • I. Was the Last Common Ancestor of Chimpanzees and Humans Chimpanzee-Like?
    • 1. Introduction: Chimpanzees and Human Evolution [Martin N. Muller]
    • 2. Reconstructing the Last Common Ancestor of Chimpanzees and Humans [David R. Pilbeam and Daniel E. Lieberman]
    • 3. Equal, Similar, but Different: Convergent Bonobos and Conserved Chimpanzees [Brian Hare and Richard W. Wrangham]
  • II. Chimpanzees and the Evolution of Human Uniqueness
    • 4. Introduction: Chimpanzees and Human Uniqueness [Martin N. Muller]
    • 5. Mortality, Senescence, and Life Span [Michael D. Gurven and Cristina M. Gomes]
    • 6. Fertility and Fecundity [Melissa Emery Thompson and Peter T. Ellison]
    • 7. Locomotor Ecology and Evolution in Chimpanzees and Humans [Herman Pontzer]
    • 8. Evolution of the Human Dietary Niche: Initial Transitions [Sherry V. Nelson and Marian I. Hamilton]
    • 9. Evolution of the Human Dietary Niche: Quest for High Quality [Rachel N. Carmody]
    • 10. From Pan to Man the Hunter: Hunting and Meat Sharing by Chimpanzees, Humans, and Our Common Ancestor [Brian M. Wood and Ian C. Gilby]
    • 11. The Evolution of the Human Mating System [Martin N. Muller and David R. Pilbeam]
    • 12. From Chimpanzee Society to Human Society: Bridging the Kinship Gap [Bernard Chapais]
    • 13. Violent Cousins: Chimpanzees, Humans, and the Roots of War [Michael L. Wilson and Luke Glowacki]
    • 14. Cooperative and Competitive Relationships within Sexes [Richard W. Wrangham and Joyce Benenson]
    • 15. Cooperation between the Sexes [Adrian V. Jaeggi, Paul L. Hooper, Ann E. Caldwell, Michael D. Gurven, Jane B. Lancaster, and Hillard S. Kaplan]
    • 16. Sexual Coercion in Chimpanzees and Humans [Martin N. Muller]
    • 17. Tool Use and Manufacture in the Last Common Ancestor of Pan and Homo [Campbell Rolian and Susana Carvalho]
    • 18. Cultural Evolution in Chimpanzees and Humans [Joseph Henrich and Claudio Tennie]
    • 19. Chimpanzee Cognition and the Roots of the Human Mind [Alexandra G. Rosati]
    • 20. Ancestral Precursors, Social Control, and Social Selection in the Evolution of Morals [Christopher Boehm]
    • 21. Communication and Language [Katie E. Slocombe and Thom Scott-Phillips]
  • Contributors
  • Index
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