The study of human evolution is advancing rapidly. Newly discovered fossil evidence is adding ever more pieces to the puzzle of our past, while revolutionary technological advances in the study of ancient DNA are completely reshaping theories of early human populations and migrations. In this Very Short Introduction, Bernard Wood traces the history of paleoanthropology from its beginnings in the 18th century to the very latest fossil finds.
In this new edition, he discusses how ancient DNA studies have revolutionized how we view the recent (post-550 ka) human evolution, and the process of speciation. The combination of ancient and modern human DNA has contributed to discoveries of new taxa, as well as the suggestion of “ghost” taxa whose fossil records still remain to be discovered. Considering the contributions of related sciences such as paleoclimatology, geochronology, systematics, genetics, and developmental biology, Wood explores our latest understandings of our own evolution.