The Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution

  • ID: 2247710
  • Book
  • 912 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Explanations and accounts of our own origins have become one of the most popular of all the areas in science that are now regularly brought into the public arena via television, lavishly illustrated books, and even cartoons. The discovery of fossils and artefacts has its own intrinsic interest, but it is the origin of our characteristically human abilities – speech, the creation of images, reading, writing–that holds the imagination.

This volume is a reference work that sets out and evaluates the basic knowledge and theory relevant to these origins of these abilities that have accumulated in the scientific literature over the last few decades. It is a compendium of and a guide to the general topics that assist in understanding human symbolic evolution.

Contributions to the volume include those from linguistics, anthropology and psychology. Primatologists and biologists have also contributed giving the reader a uniquely broad and accessible reference work.

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Part I: Palaeoanthropology.

1. Photogallery of Fossil Skulls.

2. An Outline of Human Phylogeny. (Bernard Campbell).

3. Evolutionary Trees of Apes and Humans From DNA Sequences. (Peter J. Waddell and David Penny).

4. Evolution of The Human Brain. (Ralph Holloway).

5. Evolution of The Hand and Bipedality. (Mary Marzke).

Part II: Social and Socio–Cultural Systems.

6. Primate Communication, Lies, and Ideas. (Alison Jolly).

7. Social Relations, Human Ecology, and The Evolution of Culture: An Exploration of Concepts and Definitions. (Tim Ingold).

8. Social Relations, Communication, and Cognition. (Andrew Lock and Kim Symes).

9. On The Evolution of Human Socio–Cultural Patterns. (Randall White).

10. The Evolution of Tools and Symbolic Behaviour. (Thomas Wynn).

11. The Interpretation of European ′Palaeolithic Art′: Magic, Mythogram, and Metaphors For Modernity. (Margaret Conkey).

12. Photogallery of Contemporary Hunter–Gatherer Art: A. Australian Aboriginal Art. B. South African Bushman Art.

Part III: Ontogeny and Symbolism.

13. The Role of Ontogenesis in Human Evolution and Development. (Chris Sinha).

14. The Ontogeny and Evolution of The Brain, Cognition, and Language. (Kathleen Gibson).

15. Early Interaction and Cognitive Skills: Implications For The Acquisition of Culture. (David Messer and Glyn Collis).

16. The Origins of Language and Thought in Early Childhood. (George Butterworth).

17. Theories of Symbolization and Development. (Chris Sinha).

18. Children′s Drawings and The Evolution of Art. (J. Gavin Bremner).

Part IV: Language Systems.

19. Spoken Language and Sign Language. (Margaret Deuchar).

20. A History of The Study of Language Origins and The Gestural Primacy Hypothesis. (Gordon W. Hewes).

21. Cognitive Abilities in A Comparative Perspective. (Andrew Lock and Michael Colombo).

22. Animal Language and Cognition Projects. (Carolyn Ristau).

23. Symbols and Structures in Language Acquisition. (Carolyn Johnson, Henry Davis, and Marlys Macken).

24. The Reconstruction of The Evolution of Human Spoken Language. (Mary Lecron Foster).

25. Theoretical Stages in The Prehistory of Grammar. (Leonard Rolfe).

26. Social and Cognitive Factors in The Historical Elaboration of Writing. (David Barton and Mary Hamilton).

Part V: Epilogue.

27. Tempo and Mode of Change in The Evolution of Symbolism (Charles Peters).

Time Charts.


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Andrew Lock is Professor of Psychology at Massey University, New Zealand.

Charles Peters is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Georgia.
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