First in Line: Tracing Our Ape Ancestry
Despite Darwin's bold contention in 1871 that the likely ancestor for Homo sapiens was an African ape, the scientific community hesitated for decades before accepting small-brained but bipedal walking "apes" from southern Africa as direct human ancestors. Remains of the australopiths, as these bipedal apes are now called, were first discovered in 1924, yet 25 years passed before the australopiths found their place on the human family tree. This book is the first to document in detail this paradigm shift in paleoanthropology between 1924 and 1950. Tom Gundling examines a period in anthropological history when ideas about what it means to be human were severely tested. Drawing on extensive primary sources, many never before published, he argues that the reinterpretation of early human fossils came about at last because of changes in theoretical approach, not simply because new and more complete fossils had been recovered. Gundling concludes with a review of the most significant post-1950 events in the field of paleoanthropology.
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a≈nities accepted African apes anatomical anatomist animals anthropoid apes anthropologists apelike apes and humans Australopithecus australopiths baboon biological bipedal brain characters chimpanzee classiﬁcation collected cranium Dart Dart’s Darwin deﬁned deﬁnition dentition di√erent di√erentiate di≈cult discovered discovery Dryopithecus Dubois e√ect Elliot Smith evidence evolved extinct family tree ﬁeld ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnd ﬁrst fossil record genus geological gorilla gradistic Gregory and Hellman Gros Clark higher primate hominid Homo sapiens Howells Hrdlicka human ancestor human evolution human lineage humanlike Ibid idea inﬂuence Keith Kromdraai later Leakey living man’s mandible Miocene missing link modern humans monkeys nature Neandertal orthogenesis paleoanthropology paleontologist Paranthropus phylogenetic phylogeny physical anthropology Piltdown Pithecanthropus Plesianthropus primates published Raymond Dart reﬂect remains Robert Broom scientiﬁc community scientists signiﬁcant Simiidae similar Sivapithecus skull South African fossils speciﬁcally specimen Sterkfontein Swartkrans Taung fossil taxonomic teeth temporalized Great Chain tion tralopithecus Washburn wrote